Remarks by Ambassador Daniel L. Foote at the Distribution Ceremony of Motorbikes and Laboratory Equipment

Remarks by Ambassador Daniel L. Foote
Distribution Ceremony of Motorbikes and Laboratory Equipment
Lusaka Provincial Health Office, Lusaka, Zambia
October 23, 2018

 The Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo
The Lusaka Province Permanent Secretary Charles Sipanje
The Lusaka Provincial Health Director Dr. Consity Mwale
Ladies and gentlemen
All other protocols observed

Good morning. Muli bwanji.

First of all, Happy Independence Day!  Congratulations to the great people of Zambia on your 54-year journey.  I wish everyone the best during tomorrow’s celebrations.

Today is also an exciting day.  I am pleased to symbolize my government’s continued commitment to a strong and healthy Zambia through this generous donation from the American people.  These seventy-five motorbikes, refrigerators, freezers, centrifuges, and other essential laboratory equipment—valued at over three quarters of $1 million—will support the provincial anti-retroviral therapy (ART) surge campaigns in Lusaka, Western, Eastern, and Southern provinces that we began last December.  We are rapidly expanding the number of people receiving life-saving HIV treatment.

The U.S. government is a proud partner of the Zambian government.  Since 2008, with support from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided approximately $23 million to the Lusaka provincial health office in support of providing high quality, comprehensive, and sustainable HIV prevention, care, and treatment services. These efforts contribute to the goal of reaching HIV epidemic control by 2020.

In addition to rapidly expanding access to life-saving HIV treatment, the U.S. government works to ensure that people living with HIV are able to live normal, healthy lives through increasing the scale of viral load monitoring.  CDC, in collaboration with the Association of Public Health Laboratories, has provided $8 million to the Ministry of Health to strengthen the courier system so that viral load and early infant diagnosis results get to the clinic in a timely manner.  This way, we improve treatment and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children.  It also means that an HIV-positive woman living in the rural district of Shibuyunji can quickly receive her viral load results in the same manner that an HIV-positive woman living in urban Lusaka receives hers.

I have no doubt that these motorbikes and supporting laboratory equipment will further advance the ART surge campaigns and help achieve HIV epidemic control.

On behalf of the U.S. government, I wish to thank and commend the Ministry of Health, including the provincial leadership, for its partnership and continued leadership in Zambia’s fight against HIV.

Thank you.