Remarks as prepared for USAID Mission Director Aler Grubbs in Myanmar for the virtual launch of the Local Action Toward Tuberculosis -Free Myanmar Act

Remarks as prepared for Aler Grubbs, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director

in Myanmar for the virtual launch of the Local Action Toward Tuberculosis -Free Myanmar Activity

Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 10:15 AM

In 2020, the United States Agency for International Development, known as USAID, began a new three-year project called Local Action Toward a Tuberculosis-Free Myanmar.  Our partner to implement this project is the Myanmar civil society organization, Pyi Gyi Khin.  In October, I joined the Deputy Director-General of Disease Control, Dr. Thandar Lwin to introduce the project to the Ministry of Health and Sports and development partners supporting the effort to end tuberculosis in Myanmar

As Dr. Win Naing mentioned, this project builds on our previous collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sports and the Yangon Regional Health Department to achieve the objectives of Myanmar’s National Tuberculosis Program.  Many of you may be aware of USAID’s previous collaboration with the Yangon Regional Health Department to widely disseminate the “Cover Your Cough” public education campaign.  Thanks to Dr. Win Naing and his entire team, who forged such an effective partnership with the Yangon Region Bus System to educate drivers and commuters about the best methods to prevent the spread of tuberculosis.

At USAID, one of our goals is to build partnerships with Myanmar organizations, to empower communities to generate local solutions to meet the needs of your people.  Pyi Gyi Khin and its partners worked with the National Tuberculosis Program and USAID to design a program that will reach the people who are most in need and under-served.

This project will work in communities in the Yangon Region Catchment area, including affected communities in Bago and Ayeyarwady region and Mon state, to organize themselves to accelerate the detection, prevention, and treatment of tuberculosis in Myanmar’s most densely populated, and growing, urban neighborhoods.

Pyi Gyi Khin will collaborate with a diverse group of civil society organizations, government institutions, the private sector, faith-based organizations, and other partners to work together to try to end tuberculosis.

The project, Local Action Toward a Tuberculosis-Free Myanmar, will empower people affected by tuberculosis to take a more active role in advocating for their well-being.  The project will help people contribute to the design and delivery of health services and support that meets the needs of people in their own communities.  Pyi Gyi Khin and their partners will document the effectiveness innovations that the communities adopt in order to amplify more effective, targeted solutions for the National Tuberculosis Program.

The Local Action Toward a Tuberculosis-Free Myanmar is part of the long-term U.S.-Myanmar partnership on health.  When the USAID mission opened in Myanmar in 2012, health officers were among the first members of our team. Specifically, the Local Action Toward a Tuberculosis-Free Myanmar is part of USAID’s Global Tuberculosis Accelerator to prevent and treat tuberculosis in 23 high-burden countries.  It is supporting efforts led by these countries to eliminate tuberculosis by 2035.

Myanmar has made remarkable progress in the past decade in reducing tuberculosis incidence.  Myanmar serves as an example to your neighbors in the ASEAN region of what can be accomplished with strong partnership and effort. Thank you to the Yangon Regional Health Department, the Ministry of Health and Sports and the people of Yangon, Ayeyarwady, and Bago regions, and Mon state for your strong commitment to eliminate tuberculosis.

We will begin this new phase of our partnership to end tuberculosis in Yangon, as this is where we see the highest disease burden for both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis in Myanmar.  We look forward to continuing to partner with you to make this ambitious goal a reality by 2035.