Remarks by USAID Health Office Director Heidi O’Bra “March Towards Finding 45,000 people with Tuberculosis (TB) ” Campaign Launch

Speeches Shim

Thursday, October 29, 2020
A health care worker checks up on a patient with TB.
A health care worker checks up on a patient with TB.

Minister of Health, Honorable Dr. Chitalu Chilufya
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary-Technical Services, Dr. Kennedy Malama
Representatives from the World Health Organization
Representatives from Donor and NGO communities
Representatives from Civil Society
Distinguished Guests

On behalf of the United States government, it is my great pleasure to join the Ministry of Health and other distinguished partners for today’s exciting “March Towards Finding 45,000 people with Tuberculosis ” Campaign launch.

We all understand the immense challenges introduced by COVID-19 in Zambia, and across the globe and while we have experienced service disruptions due to this pandemic, we commend the Government of the Republic of Zambia for your leadership in ensuring the continuity of essential health services to preserve Zambian lives.

Today, the U.S. government joins the Ministry of Health in taking a stand against tuberculosis, or TB, which is the leading infectious disease killer in the world. In Zambia, TB infects 60,000 people every year. Sadly, TB caused about 18,000 deaths in Zambia in 2019.

We are honored to join with the Ministry of Health to accelerate progress towards the targets set during the United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB in 2018; the target of eliminating TB by 2035. We fully support the Ministry’s vision to implement high-impact interventions that will


significantly improve TB-case detection rate and reduce the number of TB deaths by 40 percent. Successful implementation of the high-impact interventions will lead to attaining the 2020 target of reaching and placing 45,000 individuals diagnosed with TB on treatment. The U.S. Government’s support to the Zambian government is in alignment with USG and other Global TB Strategies.

I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our continued, strong partnership with the Zambian government. As part of USG support for this case finding campaign countrywide, we will support the following:

  • Optimizing screening and diagnosis of drug susceptible and resistant TB with a focus on health facilities and targeted community hotspots;
  • Facilitating the availability of quality assured drugs and commodities;
  • Strengthening data management systems, including electronic medical records;
  • Monitoring progress towards United Nations High Level Meeting TB targets; and
  • Strengthening the management of clients co-infected with both TB and HIV.

I would like to close by sincerely thanking everyone here for your hard work, dedication, and innovation. We are honored to join you today in launching the Intensified Case Finding campaign: “March Towards 45,000 TB cases.” We pledge to continue working together with the Government of the Republic of Zambia and our partners to eliminate TB as a major public health threat by 2035 and look forward to a successful campaign. Thank you.

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