TB/HIV Technical Advisor, Bureau for Global Health, Office of infectious Disease, Tuberculosis Division
As a medical doctor in Burkina Faso, Inoussa Zabsonre witnessed firsthand the stigmatization that both individuals and healthcare workers face when living with or treating infectious diseases. “Some of my neighbors were infected. I knew I needed to be part of this community, taking care of people,” he explained, describing how this early experience drew him to his life’s work supporting healthcare in HIV and tuberculosis (TB).
As a TB/HIV Technical Advisor on GHTASC, Dr. Zabsonre brings years of experience in HIV and drug-resistant tuberculosis (DRTB) to his position supporting the Office of Infectious Disease at USAID’s Bureau for Global Health. His time supporting nongovernmental organizations and the Ministry of Health in Burkina Faso led to a Chief Medical Officer position in 2008, where he was later promoted to lead technical support at the national level for people living with HIV and infected with TB.
By 2012, Inoussa felt called to gain experience beyond his homeland, taking a position with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) at a hospital in the northern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, providing lifesaving care in the midst of a civil war and measles outbreak. “It was very tough and dangerous, but within a day or two of seeing all these people that needed care — we admitted dozens of people every day — I knew I needed to stay and provide care to these people.”
Next, Inoussa found himself on assignment in Mozambique and then eSwatini, where he spent three years providing HIV, TB, and drug-resistant TB care and prevention. “I learned a lot in this country,” he says, smiling as he remembers the experience.
From there, Inoussa immigrated to the United States and quickly made himself of service through consulting for USAID. Although home was now officially in North America, he continued to provide technical support to a wide range of countries on behalf of the Agency, travelling often to DRC, Zimbabwe, Ghana, and Malawi; and facilitating trainings in Thailand, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan.
After many years on the road, Inoussa decided to take some time to focus on those closer to home, and has been in his current position since 2021, recently receiving a GHTASC performance recognition award for managing the TB/HIV Community of Practice, being the main point of contact for different Community of Practice workstreams, and designing several critical technical documents TB/DRTB and HIV research projects. “I’m very excited and passionate about my work because in everything I do, I’m trying my best to have an impact on people’s lives. This is the most important thing for me. I recall, I was in DRC and in Eswatini, sometimes on the weekend, I would wake up and I was compelled to go to the ward to check in on patients, sitting with them, having discussions – to make sure that we were providing the best quality of care for people. Everything we are doing has an impact on people’s lives, so let’s do the best for them.”