Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Natalie E. Brown at 2022 Heroes in Well being Awards
Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, Uganda | November 25, 2022
(As ready for supply)
Good night to all. I’m honored to hitch you all as we have fun the 2022 Heroes in Well being Award nominees. We’re impressed by the winners’ progressive and inventive options to enhance the well being sector by way of environment friendly, high-quality, and reasonably priced healthcare.
Earlier than I proceed with the celebrations, I need to acknowledge the necessary contributions of the late Mr. Christopher Nsamba, who was awarded the “Well being Innovator of the 12 months” award final 12 months for growing the biggest child incubator on the earth. Mr. Christopher handed in July of this 12 months on the very younger age of 37, and I ship my condolences to his household, mates, and lots of admirers.
The previous two and one-half years since March 2020 have offered many challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic, and now the Ebola outbreak, dramatically modified life as we knew it. COVID-19 took too many lives, shuttered the worldwide economic system, and disrupted key schooling and well being initiatives. Regardless of these difficulties, our robust relationships with Uganda’s authorities, organizations, and most significantly its folks ensured efficient use of the various investments made by america Authorities. These funds continued to encourage financial development and employability, enhance well being and schooling, promote democratic values, and strengthen safety.
Because the world’s main international well being growth accomplice and largest contributor of well being help to Uganda, the U.S. Authorities stays dedicated to bettering the well being and general well-being of Ugandans. Our focus is on working in respectful partnership, strengthening Uganda’s capability to deal with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, maternal and baby well being, reproductive well being together with household planning, in addition to rising well being threats, whereas additionally making certain that these features are sustainable. U.S. Authorities initiatives are directed towards serving to the folks of Uganda in cooperation with quite a few native and worldwide companions – together with the Authorities of Uganda, non-governmental organizations, the personal sector, and civil society. To assist these objectives, we make investments over $500 million in Uganda’s well being sector yearly —the majority of which matches to supporting HIV applications by way of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Aid (PEPFAR).
For almost 20 years, Uganda and america, by way of PEPFAR, have collaborated to develop and implement environment friendly and efficient approaches to establish tens of millions of Ugandans dwelling with HIV and hyperlink them to efficient remedy, stop an infection earlier than it happens, and mitigate the influence of HIV on the group. Twenty years in the past, the scenario round HIV an infection and sickness felt determined, however right now we discover that scenario radically remodeled. As of September 2022, over 1.3 million Ugandans dwelling with HIV had been receiving PEPFAR-supported HIV remedy. Solely two days in the past, I used to be with a few of these folks on the UNYPA (Uganda Community of Younger Folks Dwelling With HIV& AIDS) Y+ magnificence pageant. They’re dwelling positively – pun supposed – and educating others whereas planning for their very own lengthy, productive lives. Reaching HIV epidemic management in Uganda is within reach 40 years after the primary instances had been detected. And regardless of the emergence of COVID-19, and now the continued outbreak of Ebola, we’ve got ensured that HIV care and remedy stays a central precedence. We applaud the heroes within the well being sector who’ve helped Uganda to realize nice success within the struggle in opposition to HIV. We should always have fun the excellent innovation and creativity that has introduced us thus far and acknowledge what will likely be required to assist Uganda to cross that end line of the 95-95-95 objectives and to maintain epidemic management.
Bettering healthcare throughout Uganda requires stopping not solely transmission of HIV and different communicable illnesses, but in addition bettering social determinants of well being. Gender-based violence is a pervasive menace that will increase the chance of HIV and lots of different unfavorable well being outcomes, and requires artistic and progressive options to drastically cut back its prevalence. All types of gender-based violence and violence in opposition to kids have to be prevented. And right now, on the primary day of the 16 days in opposition to gender-based violence marketing campaign, we name upon our heroes within the well being sector to be actively conscious of this menace and use their abilities to get rid of all types of violence.
With regards to scaling up group fashions of care, PEPFAR is supporting progressive and inventive partnerships with the personal sector. For instance, a handy group pharmacy distribution mannequin has been launched. At present, over thirty thousand (30,000) shoppers have acquired their drug refills at 90 pharmacies in 63 districts. By means of this collaboration, over 90 % of the shoppers enrolled on this mannequin hold their clinic appointments and have achieved HIV viral load suppression.
Moreover, PEPFAR is supporting innovation and creativity on the grassroots stage, leveraging the huge community of group well being staff to enhance affected person outcomes. For instance, by way of the caregiver mannequin, kids and adolescents – who’ve the poorest remedy outcomes in Uganda – profit from the direct assist of well being care staff, and we see kids on second and third-line HIV remedies are attaining viral load suppression.
The U.S. Authorities has pioneered many inventions and new applied sciences to strengthen Uganda’s well being methods. In the course of the COVID-19 lockdown, we linked regional referral hospitals to lower-level services utilizing new teleconferencing methods that facilitated digital coaching and supervision of well being staff. This innovation allowed tens of millions of Ugandans to proceed receiving crucial lifesaving well being companies throughout the lockdown. Additionally, utilizing PEPFAR sources, we’ve got launched the Enterprise Useful resource Planning (ERP) system on the Nationwide Medical Retailer (NMS). This state-of-the-art system permits end-to-end visibility of well being commodity administration from procurement by way of affected person distribution.
We proceed to assist the Ministry of Well being with superior laboratory tools and data methods that make Uganda one of many main international locations in illness surveillance and response worldwide – and these robust well being methods are being ably used for the Ebola response. America Authorities is proud to accomplice with Uganda as we proceed to advance the nation’s means to achieve tens of millions of individuals in want of crucial companies. Collectively, our purpose is to construct a well being system that’s resilient, versatile, sustainable, and able to dealing with rising well being threats.
However all of this funding and innovation is meaningless with out the laborious work and dedication of the Well being Care Employees. They’re those who make technological advances work and who rework new concepts into life-saving practices. They’re the surgical group I met in Soroti who separated cojoined groups; the group in Fort Portal who offered crucial care to fellow well being care staff affected by Ebola; the lab techs and motorbike couriers dealing with doubtlessly harmful samples; the epidemiologists monitoring illness unfold; YAPS – younger folks and adolescent peer assist members educating their friends; village well being groups; all the hygienists I met – predominantly younger girls – in Mubende and Kassanda; and naturally the management group on the Ministry and lots of, many others. This gathering right now is about you and all that you just do in assist of your group and nation. Yesterday was the American vacation of Thanksgiving, a day when People pause to specific gratitude for mates, household, and so they blessings they’ve. I wish to recognize all of you – the heroes in well being.
As we acknowledge the 60 years of partnership between the American and Ugandan folks, america appears ahead to deepening its dedication to empowering the Ugandan folks to construct a wholesome, affluent, and democratic nation they richly deserve.