Keynote Address by Mark Anthony White for the USAID-Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) Partnership MOU Signing

Thursday, February 14, 2019
Keynote Address by Mark Anthony White for the USAID-BD MOU Signing
Keynote Address by Mark Anthony White for the USAID-BD MOU Signing
Photo Credit: BD

( As prepared for delivery)

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen.  Thank you all for joining us for the launch of this important partnership between USAID and BD to support the strengthening of health systems for tuberculosis, antimicrobial resistance, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and family health.

Helen Keller once said "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."  Everything we do at USAID is built on that foundation. We work together to address India's development challenges.

In India, we can deliver development assistance much more efficiently through strategic partnerships like the one we are here to launch today. 

At USAID, our health portfolio is one of our largest investment areas, focusing particularly on maternal and child health, family planning, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and antimicrobial resistance.

However, we understand that our resources are just a fraction of the investment needed to achieve our development goals. As a result, our approach hinges on strengthening existing systems; forging shared-value alliances and partnerships; and demonstrating models that can be scaled up by others.

By partnering with private-sector specialists such as BD, our investments can act as a force multiplier for investments by the government and the private sector to reach many, many more people.

USAID has extensive experience in many health service areas, especially in patient access and care.  Our activities create public and patient awareness, promote and support access to diagnosis and appropriate treatment, and we also support and enable patients to complete their treatment successfully. 

The business community, in addition to contributing needed capital, can also contribute strategic planning skills and leadership. I am told Dr. Sachdeva, the Health Ministry's Deputy Director General at the TB Division, said in a recent meeting that the resourcefulness of corporates is more important than their resources. We are eager to leverage that resourcefulness in partnerships like the one we are launching today.

In this partnership, for instance, BD brings global expertise in health-related skill development, designing and supporting communication campaigns on health, and strengthening the capacities of laboratories for accreditation and certifications. 

USAID/India brings a strong network for advocacy, capacity to collect and analyze evidence generated through programmatic investments, and experience working with public-sector healthcare providers across India.

Together, we work with government and non-government stakeholders to support the Government of India to increase access to quality healthcare and potentially lower the cost of healthcare delivery in India.  

The commitment to success is clear here today, with BD and the Government of India’s participation. I believe this partnership is going to be a game-changer.

Let’s talk for a minute about the work itself—what our challenges are and what we can achieve.

The discovery of antibiotics has given us an edge in the battle against infectious diseases, but since then, their widespread availability and indiscriminate use has created a threat of microorganisms developing resistance to more and newer drugs.

We have known about this risk since the beginning, so the antimicrobial resistance that has emerged as a grave public health concern is largely a manifestation of our neglect to ensure the judicious use of antibiotics.

India has one of the largest burdens of infectious diseases worldwide and is one of the largest consumers of antibiotics for human health. However, while resistance to our current antibiotics is growing, the development of new antibiotics has slowed.

Anti-microbial resistance is now a real threat, and business as usual will not be enough. AMR microorganisms move between humans, animals and the environment in many ways, and it is vital to implement a comprehensive 360-degree, One-Health approach.

It is our shared responsibility to address this problem; success cannot be achieved by a single actor or in a single sector. Disease recognizes no boundaries, so our success depends upon strong collaboration across sectors.

I am very proud to formalize this partnership with BD.  Both organizations have a mandate to improve people’s health which we believe will lead to improved quality of life and economic growth.

USAID is currently working with BD to strengthen laboratories for MDR-TB under our project STRIDES—Strengthening TB Resistance Testing and Diagnostic Systems. I am happy to report that needs-based interventions for STRIDES are worked out in consultation with Government of India's Central TB Division. Two training of trainers were conducted a few weeks ago for microbiologists and technical staff from 31 laboratories, which are providing services to the program.

Through this MoU, we are expanding the scope for covering a range of health areas, and we are providing a greater opportunity to engage with the government and the private sector.

Partnerships and alliances are key to achieving development outcomes, and at USAID partnerships are at the core of our work.  We value what our private sector partners bring in terms of innovation, market approaches, enterprise-driven models, and last-mile solutions.

To the BD team represented here today, I appreciate your commitment to our shared goals and I am pleased to sign this new MOU with you. We appreciate that this collaboration will further strengthen India’s laboratory and diagnostic space for improved surveillance, detection and clinical management by bringing global best practices and facilitating learning across partners.

We believe that adding your expertise in this area will move us closer to helping India achieve its goal of providing universal access to affordable, quality health care services.

I would like to thank representatives from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for extending their support to this partnership. Your presence at the event today indicates the Government of India’s commitment to finding effective solutions to pressing health challenges in India.

I want to thank you for inviting me today and for providing this opportunity for USAID to partner with the corporate sector for improving public health outcomes in India.

I would like end my address with a quote from Kenneth Hartley Blanchard, an American author: “A clear purpose will unite you as you move forward, values will guide your behavior, and goals will focus your energy.”

We look forward to a productive partnership with BD and the Government of India.

Thank you!

 

 

New Delhi
Issuing Country 

Last updated: January 22, 2020

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