Remarks by Ms. Lenna Neat Arango Infectious Disease Team Lead, USAID/Cambodia, Virtual Meeting on Dissemination of the Community Mobilization Initiatives to End Tuberculosis’s Project Baseline & Progress Update Results

Speeches Shim

Friday, June 25, 2021
  • Dr. Huot Chanyuda, Director of CENAT
  • Mr. Choub Sok Chamreun, Executive Director of KHANA and Chief of Party of the COMMIT Project

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be here with you to review the baseline assessment results from the Community Mobilization Initiatives to End Tuberculosis project and to celebrate the progress that has been made since it started.  

TB remains a serious public health problem around the world. Every year more than 10 million people are infected, and nearly two million lose their lives to the disease. Over four million of those who fall ill each year do not receive a proper diagnosis or notification of their illness.  This can lead to drug-resistant forms of TB and more expensive treatments. We join with you today to reiterate our commitment to the September 2018 UN high-level meeting targets for TB.  To reach these ambitious global targets by 2022, the world needs to treat 40 million TB patients, find and treat 1.5 million multi drug resistant TB patients and provide 30 million people with TB preventive therapy.

The U.S. government demonstrated its commitment by announcing USAID’s new TB business model, the “Global Accelerator to End Tuberculosis.” This initiative will help partners, including Cambodia, to diagnose and treat 40 million people by 2022. The Accelerator model has increased public and private sector investments, enabled strategic technical assistance to the Ministry of Health, and is building the capacity of local organizations to help end the TB epidemic.

In partnership with CENAT, USAID is applying the TB Accelerator Model to end TB in Cambodia. The Community Mobilization Initiatives to End TB – also known as COMMIT – is one example. COMMIT is a five-year project, led by local NGO KHANA. KHANA works in partnership with Cambodia Health Committee, Health Social Development, and the Cambodia Against Tuberculosis Association, to find the estimated 30,000 missing TB cases and bring TB services to the community.

Thanks to a collaboration between the National TB Program and the COMMIT team, the results of the project baseline assessment provides us with reliable data. This data helps us set project targets for improving the availability and functionality of health facilities and services related to TB in many areas. These include human resources and capacity, referrals for TB screening, diagnosis, and treatment. With this data, we can measure the project's progress over five years and tailor COMMIT strategies and interventions according to TB service gaps within the ten underserved districts.  Most importantly, using reliable data to guide the project will ensure that we meet the needs of key populations. Knowing where we are starting from enables us to get where we want to go.

In just one and a half years, COMMIT can be proud of multiple achievements and many activities being implemented in support of the NTP. We look forward to seeing the project reach its targets and celebrate many more achievements over the next three years.

It’s important to note that while we recognize the project’s achievements, we also realize that COVID-19 has taken a devastating toll on the global TB response, threatening to reverse up to eight years of progress. USAID is committed to working together with all of you in finding solutions to these very real challenges so we can continue the good fight in the midst of this pandemic environment and ensure that people can safely access TB testing and care and that health providers stay safe while delivering services.

This year the U.S. Embassy is celebrating the values that underpin United States engagement in Cambodia, through quarterly themes. In July through September, we will focus on “peace & security” – topics that are important to both our nations. The continued spread of TB and other infectious diseases constitute a health security threat that requires a global, coordinated response. I am happy to note our collaboration in Cambodia is bearing results.

A special thanks to the front-line workers that keep our activities going while facing COVID-19 risks. They are the true heroes.

My thanks also to CENAT and KHANA for inviting us to be a part of this important event and for your leadership and efforts to end TB in Cambodia.

Thank you.

Issuing Country 

Last updated: July 20, 2021

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