Remarks by John Vertefeuille, Country Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the Inauguration of the Mount Meru Regional Hospital
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I am honored to join all of you here this morning to help launch this new HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Center for the residents of the Arusha and neighboring Manyara Region.
The partnership between the people of the United States of America and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania to fight HIV/AIDS has resulted in the opening of over 80 clinics like this one in the past two years. Our commitment to advancing the public health and health care systems in Tanzania is unyielding and I am excited to contribute to the impressive development in this area. In fact, today, along with the celebration of the new clinic at Mount Meru Regional Hospital, the Arusha region can celebrate the near completion of two additional clinics in this region – at the Longido Health Center and the Namanga Dispensary. The clinics are funded by the American people through PEPFAR, the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. PEPFAR is the largest international health commitment ever made by any nation to fight a single disease.
Affirming the American people's commitment to improving global health, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently completed a seven-nation tour of Africa, with a U.S. delegation that included U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby. During this trip, she visited multiple HIV/AIDS clinics, met with patients from those clinics to see firsthand the difference our partnership can make, and stressed the importance of PEPFAR as an effective tool to provide lifesaving medicines and prevention effort to the Tanzanian people living with HIV/AIDS.
Success, however, cannot be measured in terms of dollars spent. Rather, effectiveness is measured in terms of the millions of Tanzanians who have received voluntary testing and counseling, the millions who receive care and treatment, and the millions who have understood--and applied--prevention messages.
The Mount Meru Regional Hospital HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Center provides greater access to treatment services for families and individuals in need. Clinic staff members provide services in a clean, safe and pleasant environment. In addition to providing Anti-Retroviral Treatment services, this facility also provides patient support activities, HIV counseling and testing, services to prevent HIV infection to babies, early testing services for infants and children, and laboratory services.
We need all of you to take the opportunity to, free of charge, learn your HIV status and sensitize your friends and family to do the same. His Excellency President Kikwete and First Lady Mama Kikwete have led the way. In July 2007, the First Couple publicly tested for HIV/AIDS. Since then, following their example, over 4 million Tanzanians have been tested and the American Kaibu Balozi Larry Andre' joined President Kikwete to launch a new testing campaign to test an additional 1+ million wananchi to learn their HIV-status.
It is only through testing that you can plan for your future. If you are found to be HIV positive, enroll yourself at the Care and Treatment clinics at the Mount Meru Regional Hospital Health Center. If you are HIV negative, learn about the ways that you can stay that way and support those around you to do the same.
You can take control of your own future . . . and know that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with you as you do.
On behalf of the American people, I again thank you for your tireless commitment to improving the health of this country. We will continue to work steadfast with you and the entire Tanzanian nation to fulfill President Kikwete’s vision of a “Tanzania without AIDS." We believe it is possible. Asanteni sana.