U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green's Remarks at the Accelerating Action on Tuberculosis Towards Achieving 40x22 Event

Remarks

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

 

United Nations
New York, New York
September 26, 2018

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Great. Thank you, Lucica. It is a pleasure to be with you. And you talk about the brains on this panel; I must be excluded as well. It is the people around us who are the real champions. It is great to be with Minister Nadda, Minister Motsoaledi, and Dr. Stoffels. Just great to be with all of you true champions.

We're here, of course, because while many gains have been achieved in the fight against tuberculosis, I think we all know that we have much, much to do. It remains the world's number-one infectious disease killer, continuing to claim nearly two million lives each and every year. TB also disproportionately affects the most vulnerable people in our society: those who live in poverty and marginalized communities. Too many individuals with TB also face stigma and discrimination which discourages them from treatment, which means that our approach must be truly multisectoral.

We're gathered here because we're determined to confront and to conquer these challenges. I am proud to say that USAID has been a leader in the global fight, and we will continue to do so. We support anti-TB efforts in more than 50 countries and have helped provide TB treatment to 13 million people, including over 300,000 people suffering from multi-drug resistant TB. The network of partners represented here has helped produce powerful results indeed.

Since 2000, we have seen nearly a 50 percent reduction in TB-related deaths; by one estimate, more than 54 million lives have been saved, and that is something for us to celebrate. Today, I'm proud to announce an effort to take all of what we have learned and achieved and to try to push it to the next level. Specifically, we are launching a new initiative called the Global Accelerator to End Tuberculosis, that will increase our support to governments into local partners that are taking bold steps towards ending TB.

The Accelerator represents, we believe, a new business model that will catalyze commitments across all sectors. First, it will support countries to develop and implement a performance-based measurement system in order to optimize public and private resources, and better align USAID's TB funding with our partner countries' commitments. Just last week, USAID initiated the first award of the Accelerator for $35 million to the University of North Carolina to assist with creating these measurements.

Second, the Accelerator will focus on locally-generated solutions that tailor our TB response to patients in communities that are addressing stigma and discrimination. USAID will work directly with nearly 50 local entities within TB priority countries to provide accessible services, resulting in increased diagnosis and treatment success rates. This initiative has specifically been designed to support the framework advocated here at the UN.

It emphasizes the need for a multisectoral approach, because that's what research shows will be needed if we are going to prevail. It will require analyzing the financial, educational, and, occupational conditions where the disease flourishes. We need solutions beyond health clinics, solutions that reach across both the public and the private sector. We must also invest in national and global mechanisms to monitor our progress and to keep all of us accountable; a fully transparent process that enables us both to celebrate our accomplishments and also identify those gaps in our programming.

The Accelerator will also emphasize the critical role that faith-based and community organizations must play. After all, they are often the most trusted voices in hard-to-reach communities who can approach health problems holistically, understanding and treating the patients' needs, not just the disease. Perhaps most important of all, they can play a vital role in removing the stigma that too often keeps sufferers from seeking treatment and recovering with dignity. I think we all understand that we can't successfully tackle this great challenge unless we pay special attention to India's TB epidemic.

India accounts for 27 percent of the world's TB cases, with 421,000 deaths per year. That's one person dying every minute. Last November, I visited India and met with a group of brave TB survivors and their families. I learned about the barriers to testing and treatment that they face on a daily basis. I was especially moved by those who were initially deterred from seeking treatment because of stigma but persevered, and now those same people, mostly women, are working as patient advocates, supporting others who are also struggling with stigma.

A major reason for hope in India is that Prime Minister Modi has made an ambitious, but determined commitment to achieve a TB-free India by 2025. India's drive to build their own approach to eliminate TB is a strong example of what USAID seeks to support: strong, independent partners that share our values and welcome our partnership. In order to advance the prime minister's vision, USAID is making an initial $30 million commitment, subject to the approval of our Congress, that will strengthen our partnership and accelerate their efforts to end TB.

I'm also pleased to announce today the new USAID-India End TB Alliance. It's comprised of leading experts in the public and private sectors that will offer innovative approaches to combating TB in India. Alliance members include industry and civil society leaders, academics, scientists, innovators, investors, and members of the diaspora. The unique perspectives of the Alliance members will help inform both USAID and the government of India in our continued partnership to end TB. And I'm honored that we have two members of the Alliance here with us today, Dr. Swaminathan, the Director General of the World Health Organization, and Ms. Blessina Kumar from the Global Coalition of TB Activists.

So, I am calling on the international community to accelerate our shared response by presenting concrete and bold commitments to address TB's threat to public health and security. We see the UN High-Level Meeting on TB as a great opportunity to focus global attention and mobilize resources to combat the TB epidemic. USAID is ready to join others in rising to the bold challenge of working together to identify and treat 40 million people by 2022. The U.S. government is committed to playing our part, and we know -- we are confident -- that together we can overcome any barriers in order to end TB. Thank you, Lucica.

Last updated: November 29, 2018

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