- Your Excellency, Dr. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health
- Your Excellency, Dr. Mao Tan Eang, Director of the National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control and Advisor to the Ministry of Health
- Representatives of Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the World Health Organization
- Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a great pleasure to be here today at the opening ceremony of the 18th Annual Tuberculosis Conference. I would like to thank CENAT for inviting me. USAID is following the progress made in TB control efforts in Cambodia with great interest and we are glad to be part of this important workshop.
Last year, we were extremely impressed to learn of the impact that years of TB control efforts have had in the country - documented by repeat prevalence surveys showing 45% decrease in TB prevalence in nine years. This is a remarkable achievement and Cambodia is being applauded worldwide for this success, and we, USAID, is very proud to have contributed to this achievement.
We know also that momentum needs to be sustained for many more years, even decades, to reach the ultimate goal of eliminating TB as a public health problem by 2050. It is with that goal that we need to continue our relentless efforts in the coming years.
With that in mind, I am eager hear about the achievements of the national TB program in 2012, which I understand will be presented and discussed during this conference. I am sure that given the success to date, last year will also show great progress. I am also glad to know this conference has brought TB program staff of all levels of the Ministry of Health together with Ministry of Interior, local government authorities, civil society partners, private sector, donors, and other partners. This demonstrates the broad partnership that has made this success possible. I hope we can use this opportunity to learn even more from each other, to identify challenges and key strategies to address them in a collaborative way.
Given that international aid has been decreasing in recent years, we will need to work together to make sure that we target activities with the highest impact and finding ways to achieve the same results at a lower cost. There may be synergies with other programs - such as the health equity fund - to benefit poor TB patients. We may have to leverage other funding sources to cover the expense for TB/HIV activities or community DOTS.
USAID is committed to continue its partnership with the Global STOP TB partnership, the National TB Programs, civil society, and the private sector to support worldwide TB control efforts, including in Cambodia. As you know, the USG is the largest donor to the Global Fund, providing on third of the funding. Through this and other mechanisms, we will be proud to be part of TB control efforts in Cambodia to continue the remarkable achievements of the national TB program, and stand ready to help with strategic support and technical assistance. The RGC has been steadily increasing its budget allocation to the health sector. We applaud the RGC for recognizing that this investment in people is as, if not more important, than investing in infrastructure and buildings. We encourage the RGC to include the TB program in future budget increases.
I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity to speak at today’s ceremony, and I look forward to hearing about the achievements we attain this year in next year’s Annual Conference.
Last updated: December 19, 2014