Remarks by Lawrence Hardy II, Mission Director, Global Consultation and Support for Infection Prevention and Control Implementation

Monday, August 6, 2018
Global Consultation and Support for Infection Prevention and Control Implementation

[As Prepared]

[Greetings]

Thank you for inviting me to the opening program of the Global Consultation and Support for Infection Prevention and Control Implementation.

I am here representing the United States Agency for International Development, popularly known as USAID. USAID is the lead U.S. government agency for international development and disaster assistance.

Tuberculosis, or TB, is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide. In 2016, over 10 million people fell ill with TB and more than half of these were found in five countries represented today: India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines and Pakistan.

The U.S. government provides leadership to end TB transmission worldwide, in collaboration with global, national and local initiatives. A key element of the U.S. Global TB strategy is to prevent TB progression through rapid diagnosis of active TB cases and prompt initiation of treatment.

The U.S. Global TB strategy also responds to the threat of drug-resistant TB, which results in significant loss of human life and brings economic damage.

USAID is addressing the global threat of drug-resistant TB through strategic investments to broaden access to diagnosis and treatment and engaging providers from both the public and private sectors in the most affected communities. USAID works to improve innovative health technologies and patient-centered approaches to care, and advance diagnostic and treatment options. Since 2007, USAID has provided nearly $80 million to support the Philippine Department of Health’s National Tuberculosis Control Program.

By improving demand for and access to TB services, USAID helped the Philippines to improve the TB case notification rate, with the number of TB cases diagnosed and officially reported almost doubling from 2006 to 2014, so that people can receive life-saving treatment faster.

Despite substantial successes in the fight against TB, we continue to face major challenges. For instance, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine remain among the countries with the highest burden of TB.

These countries are also priority countries for USAID and we commit to partnering with the national governments and other stakeholders to fight it.

We recognize that a large share of the resources for national TB programs comes from domestic budgets and that national governments are committed to a self-reliant health system. Thus, USAID works with host governments in strengthening local capacities to optimally use domestic resources to combat TB.

As we discuss good international practices and policies today, I urge you to always bring our work back to the people.

I would like to share the story of Sonny Abellon. Sonny, who is from a village in Northern Mindanao, started experiencing TB symptoms two years ago when he was only 25-years-old. Despite knowing that he needed medical care, he decided not to seek treatment, because it would mean travelling 18 kilometers on a motorcycle taxi, to the town center and forgoing a day’s wage.

Sonny, who earned around $20 a month, simply could not afford these expenses and preferred to spend his earnings on food for his family.

But a USAID-trained health volunteer recognized Sonny’s symptoms and helped him get tested, free-of-charge through the Municipal Health Office. The volunteer also made sure that Sonny attended his regular check-ups and took his daily medicines for six months. I am happy to inform everyone that Sonny is now cured of TB. Today, he works on a vegetable farm and no longer worries about transmitting the disease to his family.

Sonny’s story, and the other successes that we achieved together, would not have been possible without the strong leadership of Departments and Ministries of Health — represented by you today — and the support of the local government units, private sector and communities.

The U.S. government and the global community share a vision of a world free from TB. As the lead U.S. government agency for global TB efforts, USAID works with its partners around the world to reach every person with TB, cure those in need of treatment, and prevent the spread of the disease and new infections.

We must also strengthen international capacity and collaboration to combat this disease that knows no borders.

At this meeting, we will put our minds together to discuss the country-specific and universal priority interventions for infection prevention and control to prevent multidrug-resistant TB. We will agree on how we will monitor and measure our efforts and milestones.

Finally, we anticipate with eagerness, as an output of this important gathering, the critical roadmap for the implementation of universal priority interventions for infection prevention and control.

Thank you and good luck!

Issuing Country 

Last updated: August 08, 2018

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