Remarks by AIT Director Christensen at GCTF Workshop on Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

AIT Director W. Brent Christensen
AIT Official Text #: OT-1925
April 30, 2019


Remarks by AIT Director Brent Christensen
at GCTF Workshop on Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
April 30, 2019

(As Prepared for Delivery)

Vice President Chen, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsieh, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Price, Deputy Representative Nishiumi, speakers and guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning!

 It is my great pleasure to be with you this morning to kick off this workshop on the management of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, held under the U.S.-Taiwan Global Cooperation and Training Framework.

We are honored to have former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price with us today.  And I would like to express my special thanks to our expert speakers from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Let me extend our appreciation to Taiwan Centers for Disease Control Director General Dr. Chou and his team, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for organizing this workshop.

I want to particularly recognize each of you who made the effort to travel to Taiwan this week.  I applaud the great work that all of you are doing in your respective countries in support of public health.

This is our sixth workshop focused on public health under the Global Cooperation and Training Framework – a sign of the tremendous expertise Taiwan has in this area.

And now Taiwan is partnering with the United States, Japan, and your countries to improve our collective understanding of multi-drug-resistant TB.  Taiwan’s experience and success in lowering the TB incidence rate can serve as a valuable reference for health care authorities around the world.

Taiwan has demonstrated the will to solve global problems by sharing its experience with others.  And was able to participate in the World Health Assembly as an observer from 2009 to 2016.  Unfortunately, that has not been possible since then.

As U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said, since health crises do not respect borders, it is difficult to reconcile the global community’s shared concern over cross-border infectious diseases while excluding representatives of the 23 million people of Taiwan.

Taiwan, as a responsible global citizen, has much to contribute to efforts to address infectious disease and many other international health concerns.  Recognizing this, the United States and other likeminded countries will continue to press the WHO to put global health above politics and allow Taiwan to once again participate in the World Health Assembly.

It is our hope that the participants in this week’s workshop will leave with a greater appreciation of how important it is for the global community to come together on health issues like multi-drug-resistant TB, and why Taiwan should be a very welcome partner in these efforts.

It is only by working together that our countries can address the new and serious public health challenges that we are all facing.

I wish you all a productive workshop and enjoyable visit to Taiwan.  Thank you.