USAID Administrator Mark Green Delivers Remarks at a World Health Organization and Stop TB Partnership Reception

(L to R) Stop TB Partnership Executive Director Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Minister of Health of South Africa Aaron Motsoaledi, USAID Administrator Mark Green, and Executive Director of RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund (REF) Dr. Joanne Carter
Photo Courtesy of Stop TB Partnership

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Office of Press Relations
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United Nations Headquarters
New York City, New York

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: It is an honor to join the minister, but it really is an honor to join all of you tireless champions for this great cause.  If there is one message that I can leave with you tonight it is this: I would like to reaffirm the Trump administration's strong support for our global health programs.

We are committed because it's a fight that we can win.  We are committed because TB [tuberculosis] is the world's deadliest infectious disease, killing 1.8 million people each year.  We are committed because this is something that all of us here can do.  We are committed because we know precisely what to do.

And that to me is the great exciting thing about this challenge that we take on.  There are so many challenges in the world that take up our time and should take up our time and attention.  But we have here before us with this cause something that we know how to do.  It is not a -- it is not a question or a challenge of technology or of intellect.  It is a challenge of political will.  It is something that we can take on and we look forward to partnering with you.

We at USAID believe it is very important that we understand the purpose of foreign assistance must be to end the need for its existence.  And we say that because we need to focus on our partners, building their capacity to take these challenges on.  We need to partner with governments to prevent TB transmission and renew efforts to find missing tuberculosis cases, to use existing resources to turn (inaudible) into policy, to expand the development of new TB diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines.

For all these reasons, the U.S. is the largest donor to The Global Fund which is so vital, as we know to, all these efforts.  But America also invests over $240 million each year through our bilateral TB programs.  We partner with governments in 22 countries in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, countries that have high rates of TB and drug resistant TB.  Since 2000 these bilateral TB programs have seen great results leading to a 22 percent decline in tuberculosis mortality and a 21 percent decline in TB incidents worldwide.

We know that these investments and assistance, however, will only be successful when we are partnered with strong host country commitments and leadership.  And you will soon hear from one of USAID's great global health partners, Minister Motsoaledi, a tireless TB advocate.  Under the minister's leadership South Africa has been a forerunner in raising awareness and marshalling funds to control TB, which means saving thousands of lives.

And of course, we all hope that South Africa will serve as an example for other high burden countries.  And I applaud the minister for championing this cause.  He is making a true difference.  So, these are the reasons that we celebrate tonight because we know what to do, that we have great champions.

But of course, tonight we don't simply celebrate.  We also remind ourselves that there are some storm clouds that we may face up to as well.  Drug resistant TB is posing an increased challenge to the global health community.  Deaths from drug resistant TB now account for one third of all antimicrobial resistance deaths worldwide.

America is working with countries to roll out new tools to ensure that patients with drug resistant TB are identified, rapidly diagnosed, and given access to the best available treatment.  To make these hopeful tools live up to their promise we need increased resources, international and domestic, and we need strong leadership, international and domestic.  And that's a challenge but also a great opportunity for all of us tonight.

So, as you pointed out we have a timeline.  We have a target.  We have lots of work to do.  But as I look around this room, especially considering that you were brought here by alcohol -- [laughter]

I see the resolve.  I see the leadership.  I see the commitment.  Again, I see the leadership in our host country partners.  We can get this done.

And so, I applaud all of you for the work that you're doing.  I applaud all of you for the work you're going to be doing.  And we will have a true celebration in the not too distant future.  So, congratulations.  It is an honor to be with all of you tonight