Remarks by U.S. Deputy Global AIDS Coordinator Mamadi Yilla
Commissioning of Mukobeko Medium Pre-Fabricated Health Post
Kabwe, Central Province, Zambia
September 13, 2018
Honorable Stephen Kampyongo, Minister of Home Affairs
Honorable Sydney Mushanga, Central Province Minister
Your Worship Prince Chileshe, Mayor of Kabwe
Honorable Commissioner General Percy Chato
Ladies and Gentlemen
All other protocols observed
I am delighted to be here today to demonstrate U.S. government support for achieving HIV epidemic control in Zambia by 2020. It is hard to believe that less than 15 years ago there were fewer than 5,000 Zambians accessing HIV treatment. Today, more than 890,000 people in this country receive this lifesaving service. This amazing accomplishment has resulted in a healthier and stronger Zambia, and is deserving of celebration.
In the midst of celebration, however, we must also recognize that achieving HIV epidemic control is not possible without addressing the needs of key populations. Incarcerated populations suffer from disproportionately high levels of HIV and tuberculosis. This fact makes the partnership between Zambia’s Correctional Service, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Health, and the U.S. government all the more important. Through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, more commonly known as PEPFAR, we will work together to address some of the key challenges, including health infrastructure and staffing. We start that effort today with the commissioning of a pre-fabricated clinic that will support Mukobeko Medium Prison and the surrounding community.
This clinic will provide a package of quality HIV, family planning, reproductive health, and mother and child health services to which prisoners, prison staff, and surrounding communities will have access. Instead of traveling six kilometers to the nearest health center, Mukobeko Medium inmates and others can now receive HIV treatment right here.
I would like to thank the Zambia Correctional Service for inviting me to participate in the commissioning of this health post, for its leadership in looking after the health of prisoners at Mukobeko Medium prison, and for working with its partners to expand health services, including inside prison walls.
The U.S. government remains a committed partner to the Zambian people in the fight against HIV. Over the last 15 years, PEPFAR has invested more than $3.5 billion towards Zambia’s HIV response. We will continue to bring together the unique strengths of different parts of the U.S. government, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense, Peace Corps, and the Department of State.
We are on the verge of achieving HIV epidemic control—quite an unprecedented moment in Zambia. I encourage every Zambian to take stock of the different roles you play in your community—mother, father, sister, brother, teacher, religious leader, etc.—and identify ways that you can support the people around you to know their HIV status, start treatment immediately if positive, and create a supportive environment that is free from stigma and discrimination.