USG partners with Coca-Cola and Matsapha Town Council to fight HIV and TB in Matsapha

The United States Government, Coca-Cola-Swaziland, and the Matsapha Town Council have joined forces through a public-private partnership (PPP) to support the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland (GKoS) in their fight against the HIV/TB pandemic.  The partnership will specifically focus on improving the health and productivity of the workforce in the greater Matsapha area.  This partnership was officially launched on Thursday March 5th at Conco Field under the leadership of the Ministers of Health and Housing and Urban Development.

Under the umbrella of this PPP, each partner brings its unique strengths, resources, experience, and expertise to contribute to a shared goal – to reduce new HIV and TB infections and improve the health of the Matsapha workforce.  Matsapha, Swaziland’s industrial hub, with its promise of employment has an expansive and mobile population, many of whom live in settlements on the outskirts of the city.  Providing this burgeoning young population with adequate health services presents a formidable challenge.  The 2011 Baseline Survey commissioned by the Matshapa Town Council highlighted 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 a mobile clinic along with outreach services to improve access to health services as well as reduce risk and vulnerability to HIV and TB in order to improve the overall health and productivity of the workforce.

This PPP brings together a powerhouse confluence of partners. The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) will provide financial and human resources as well as technical expertise through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  Coca-Cola will contribute capital investments, human resources, marketing and business expertise, and their power to convene and mobilize other corporations.  The Matsapha Town Council, with their Department of Environmental and Public Health as well as their HIV coordinating arm, the Alliance of Mayors Initiative for Community Action on AIDS (AMICAALL), bring in-depth knowledge of Matsapha, the surrounding areas and its unique health challenges, human and space resources, and the ability to bring key stakeholders together for a coordinated and sustainable response.  This Partnership is fortunate to be working under the guidance of the Ministry of Health, with the strong support of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development as well as NERCHA.  It will be guided by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland’s extended National Strategic Framework on HIV/AIDS and the National Development Strategy.

Today in Matsapha, there is a beacon of hope and its name is “Kubambisama Ngemphilo Yemmango”.  This 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.