Remarks by DCM Michael Lombardo: Handover of CDC-MoH Cooperative Agreement Vehicles – Hluthi Clinic

Great Seal of the United States

Honorable Minister of Health;
Representatives from the Ministry of Health;
All Protocols observed –

Sanibonani.

It is a pleasure to join you for this handover ceremony of CDC-Ministry of Health Cooperative Agreement vehicles. In the broader sense, they symbolize where Swaziland is headed on the road to stronger health service delivery and epidemic control. These incremental advancements play a key role in fulfilling the King’s Vision 2022 and meeting Sustainable Development Goals on health and well-being.

The purpose of the CDC/MoH Cooperative Agreement is to strengthen health systems at the national, regional, facility, and community level by developing management systems using internationally recognized standards. One of the objectives of the project is to develop a Quality Management System and achieve certification in four identified health care facilities in Swaziland – one per region – by 2019.  The four sites are Bholi Clinic, Mankayane Hospital, Mbabane Government Hospital and Hlathikulu (Hla-tee-KU-loo) Hospital.

The overall project outcome is that ISO management systems are institutionalized and sustained by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland.  The vehicles will be used to strengthen the facility-based ISO officer at each site to more easily interact with the regional health management teams and capacitate quality management programs in additional health care facilities.

Moreover, the Ministry of Health has committed to covering the operational expenses, which include costs for drivers, maintenance, and fuel. With this level of commitment from partners, the lifespans of these vehicles – and those of the people they serve – will only increase.

The U.S. government’s collaboration with the Ministry of Health and our many partners illustrates the power of deliberate and sustained action. PEPFAR’s support to the people and the government of Swaziland has been unparalleled in its capacity to deliver clear, measurable and transformative impact.

This year, we will celebrate fifteen years since PEPFAR began. Former U.S. President George W. Bush, whose administration created PEPFAR, visited Botswana earlier this year and reflected on PEPFAR’s impact since 2003 with these words:

 “Today, because of the commitment of many foreign governments, investments by partners, the resilience of the African people, and the generosity of the American people, nearly 12 million lives have been saved. And nearly 2 million babies have been born HIV-free to infected mothers.”

In Swaziland, we are especially appreciative of the unwavering support and commitment by the Ministry of Health and other partners to fight this battle. Now, our work begins anew as we face the last mile towards an AIDS-free generation.

Siyabonga.