LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
It is truly an honor for me to be here with you on this occasion: the launch of this historic public private partnership to promote a healthy productive population in Matsapha. Since my arrival in Swaziland, I have been focused on how to engage the best of local and national government, the private sector, and the United States Government’s President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) on addressing HIV/AIDs in a holistic way drawing on each of our strengths. I am overjoyed that today’s program reflects the hard work of my staff at the Embassy, with the support of our PEPFAR team and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Southern Africa Office in Pretoria, represented by our USAID Regional Deputy Mission Director Littleton Tazwell who is here, and our outstanding partners in the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland Ministry of Health, the Matsapha Town Council, along with the commitment of Coca Cola Swaziland’s(CONCO) to make this event a reality.
Recognizing the power of partnership, CONCO, the Matsapha Town Council and Government of the United States have joined forces in an exciting public-private partnership with the aim of contributing to the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland’s goal of reaching zero new HIV infections and an Aids Free Generation, as well as its vision for sustainable economic development.
Public Private Partnerships such as this one enable the U.S. government, local governments, and the private-sector to maximize their efforts through jointly defined objectives, and through the sharing of resources, risks and results. The partners share the Town Council’s vision – to make Matsapha a livable and sustainable town – and its mission – to provide excellent health services and make Matsapha an ideal place for industrial, business, and residential investments.
I want to thank and commend the Matsapha CEO Ms. Gciniwe Fakudze in particular for her extraordinary leadership, energy and ownership of this project. She is an outstanding example of visionary leadership and we are pleased to have worked with her over the past months to develop this concept. Each of the partners brings its unique strengths, resources, experience, and expertise to contribute to this shared goal – to reduce new HIV and TB infections and improve the health of the Matsapha workforce.
This partnership also aims to leverage established relationships and platforms including the business community and other stakeholders to support the long-term sustainability for the project’s investments. We commend CONCO for its exemplary corporate social responsibility efforts to convene and provide resources to address social and health issues within the community where they operate. Managing Director Mancoba Khumalo and his Africa Regional General Manager Bill Jackson were immediately responsive to our request to partner on HIV/AIDS and CONCO has delivered in an impressive way with today’s mobile clinic.
The U.S. Government, through PEPFAR and USAID, brings resources and technical expertise to the partnership as well as a focused commitment to prevent new HIV infections and improve access to HIV care and treatment. We are also committed to working with Swaziland to improve the standard of living and promote an environment which will enable economic growth. This Partnership is fortunate to be working under the guidance of the very dynamic Ministry of Health, with the strong support of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, as well as NERCHA and to be guided by the Government of Swaziland’s extended National Strategic framework on HIV/AIDS and the National Development Strategy.
Matsapha, Swaziland’s industrial hub, with its promise of employment has an expansive and mobile population, with many living in the settlements on the outskirts of the city. Reaching this burgeoning and primarily young population with adequate health services presents a formidable challenge. The 2011 Baseline Survey commissioned by the Matshapa Town Council, highlights the need to improve access to health and HIV services, condoms, and information about how to prevent and treat HIV and TB.
The Partnership will support this mobile clinic along with outreach services, to improve access and to reduce risk and vulnerability to HIV and TB in order to improve the overall health and productivity of the workforce.
Today in Matsapha, there is a beacon of hope and its name is “Kubambisama Ngemphilo Yemmango”. Today marks a new beginning where responsibility for community wellbeing is shared and where smart partnerships prove that together we CAN turn back HIV and support a productive workforce. I would like to thank the Government of Swaziland for their leadership for this initiative. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the role of the hardworking staff at PEPFAR and USAID for their tireless efforts and expertise, which have made our support for the PPP possible.
I would also like to thank all of the Partners, private sector, civil society, communities, and people of Matsapha for your commitment and support. Your know how and engagement are essential for success. On behalf of the partnership I am pleased to hand over the mobile clinic to the Honorable Minister of Health.