Remarks by USAID Chief Medical Officer George Sinyangwe during the Handover of a Refurbished Tuberculosis Ward

Remarks by USAID Chief Medical Officer George Sinyangwe
Handover of a Refurbished Tuberculosis Ward
Mansa General Hospital, Mansa, Zambia
March 26, 2019

The Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, MP;
Hon. Provincial Minister, Mr. Nickson Chilangwa
Provincial Permanent Secretary, Dr. Felix Phiri
Provincial Health Director, Dr. Peter Bwalya;
The Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kennedy Malama;
Distinguished guests, members of the press, and ladies and gentlemen;

I am glad to be here today to acknowledge the Zambian government’s work to address tuberculosis control.  It is encouraging to see how access to free tuberculosis (TB) diagnostic and treatment services has improved, with every district in Zambia having at least one diagnostic center with modern diagnostic technologies.

Zambia has witnessed tremendous improvements in TB treatment completion.  Over 85 percent of patients are now successfully completing their treatment.

The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is honored to be a partner in Zambia’s success in TB control.  Since 2004, we have provided $180 million to Zambia for TB control, through various projects, such as Challenge TB.

We have worked with the Ministry of Health in Zambia on many TB control efforts, including training health care workers, staffing health facilities, renovating infrastructure, procuring equipment and supplies, and supporting TB operational research.

However, we remain concerned that enough has not been done to identify and treat most prevalent cases of drug resistant TB.  Only a quarter of the estimated prevalent drug resistant TB cases are ever identified, leading to increased TB cases and deaths.  Zambia can and must change this.

Today, we are handing over the refurbished Mansa General Hospital Tuberculosis Ward.  This fully equipped ward will ensure that patients and caregivers are protected from cross infections, thus saving many lives.

We have also supported renovations at three other TB facilities—at the University Teaching Hospital, the National Chest Disease Laboratory in Lusaka; and Kabwe General Hospital.

We will continue to partner with Zambia to accelerate the elimination of TB through MOH Provincial Health Office and USAID Eradicate TB here in Luapula Province.

Starting this year, we will support a new drug for TB preventive therapy.  The drug is taken weekly for only three months and it will help more patients to complete treatment.

Thank you for inviting me and I look forward to touring your facility.