What a great privilege to be in Lesotho to join you all to celebrate what our partnership is making possible in the health sector. Thank you so much for your warm welcome!
I wanted to come to Lesotho to personally congratulate you on the upcoming completion of your nearly 363 million dollar compact with the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation. Focused on your priorities for development—namely, upgrading water systems for both homes and businesses, improving public health, especially for mothers, children and patients living with HIV/AIDS, and deepening engagement with the private sector—the compact will end this September. However, the benefits will improve the lives of the families of Lesotho well into the future.
Today, we have an example of that as we mark a major achievement in the life of the Lesotho-MCC partnership: The completion and commissioning of the Samaria Health Center. Before coming here, I toured the old Samaria Health Center. It is clear that the new health center represents a significant upgrade in health services here. So, I congratulate all those who worked with such determination and professionalism to make this new and modern facility possible.
This health center is one of 138 centers that are being renovated and expanded through Lesotho’s MCC compact. Here at Samaria, patients can receive enhanced, high-quality health care, including HIV/AIDS treatment. Mothers can deliver babies in a safe and clean environment, rather than delivering at home or traveling great distances to get to a hospital. And, all patients can be assured that health care waste is being properly handled and disposed of to prevent infections or the spread of diseases.
Rehabilitating rural health centers is one part of the compact’s Health Project that also: has constructed a new central lab, is renovating 14 out-patient departments,opened a new blood facility,is expanding health training, and is improving the management of medical waste.
And, MCC welcomes and appreciates the outstanding coordination and collaboration we have had with other U.S. Government agencies—namely, PEPFAR, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the CDC—to transform Lesotho’s health sector.
All this shows a deep commitment to modernizing health care in Lesotho, because when men, women and children are strong and healthy, they are able to take charge of their lives, go to school, work, and contribute productively to their families, communities and countries. Make no mistake about this: Sound health is key to reducing poverty and promoting economic growth that will create greater opportunity.
That is why this investment is so critical. And, that is why I am pleased to join you for this commissioning. Now, as you work toward the completion of all elements of your compact, I challenge you to maintain what you have built here. Keep it operating efficiently. You deserve and expect nothing less.
As we celebrate what has been achieved here today, let us recommit ourselves to the important work ahead of sustaining the benefits of this investment. Through this focus on sustainability, we can—and will—bring positive change to the lives of the Basotho today and for generations to come that replaces poverty with health and prosperity.
Thank you very much.