Remarks by U.S. Deputy Global AIDS Coordinator Mamadi Yilla
Commissioning of Kantolomba Health Post and
Launching of the 2018 Country Operational Plan
September 11, 2018
Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia
Honorable Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, Minister of Health
Ambassador Daniel L. Foote
Honorable Japhen Mwakalombe, Copperbelt Province Minister
Your Worship Amon Chisanga, Mayor of Ndola
Ladies and Gentlemen
All other protocols observed
Once there was a time when acquiring HIV was a death sentence. Do you remember? Funerals for HIV-related deaths were so numerous that the Zambian economy was in danger of collapse. Do you remember? Men and women were absent from work for long periods because they were ill or were caring for sick family members, and often times they never returned. It was a scary time. Today, thankfully, we live in a very different environment. In July, the Honorable Minister graced us with his participation at the PEPFAR 2018 meeting. It was clear from the results that we discussed there that we have come a long way, even though much remains to accelerate progress, learn from our successes, and fill critical gaps.
For the past 15 years, PEPFAR has received consistent support from U.S. government administrations regardless of their political affiliation. In the upcoming months, PEPFAR will invest $1.2 billion globally to expand the diagnosis and treatment of HIV in men aged 24-35. We are committed to reaching key populations with lifesaving HIV prevention and treatment services. In the next fiscal year, the PEPFAR program will invest more than $380 million in Zambia to support the achievement of the 90-90-90 goals at the national level across all populations. With a projected estimate of 1.2 million people living in this country with HIV, at least 1.1 million Zambians living with HIV can receive treatment with these resources. It is a goal that we can accomplish through the strategic expansion of HIV prevention and treatment services, with a focus on viral load suppression at the individual and community level, and the swift implementation of forward-leaning HIV policies.
When Zambia reaches 90-90-90, we will have achieved “epidemic control.” What are the specific actions that PEPFAR will take to contribute to this goal?
- We will apply and scale up successful, higher-yield testing approaches, especially in prioritized areas that will help with finding those who do not know their status;
- We will also scale up viral load testing, especially in high-burden areas;
- To ensure better patient tracking, we will provide intensified support for SmartCare adoption across all PEPFAR sites;
- We will closely monitor our implementing partners’ performance, including their spending rates in key programs, to ensure they are meeting their targets on time and on budget; and
- We will heighten the pace of analyzing results against targets across geography, gender, age bands, focus populations, and modalities using lessons learned to make real-time adjustments to programs.
None of these steps is possible without true partnership and a shared vision among all stakeholders—including the Zambian Government, civil society, and the donor community. The fight against HIV is a fight we can win, and we implore all partners to commit to this goal. Commit to continued efforts to achieve epidemic control, and commit to sharing and discussing our results and achievements. This concerted collaboration will ensure that all of us have a common understanding of Zambia’s progress toward epidemic control and will help us identify any strategic changes we could enact to reach it more quickly, more efficiently, and more effectively.
I am excited to be here in Ndola to help launch the PEPFAR 2018 Country Operational Plan. The official implementation of this plan will begin on October 1, 2018 and when it does, we will be well on our way to controlling the epidemic in Zambia and providing quality and accessible care to all.
In closing, Honorable Minister, I am grateful for your strong leadership and the fruitful partnership between our two governments. Our mutual commitment to achieving epidemic control in Zambia by 2020 will be unwavering, and our combined efforts will bear the fruit to improve lives and fulfill Zambia’s promise as a development leader on the continent.