DAVID GILMOUR, AMBASSADOR
OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO TOGO
ON THE OCCASION OF THE CEREMONY OF THE DONATION OF MEDICAL AND LABORATORY EQUIPMENT TO THE HEALTH SERVICES OF THE ARMED FORCES OF TOGO
LOCATION: TRAINING CENTER, PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS (CEOMP)
• Mr. Brigadier General, General Chief of Staff, Togolese Armed Forces,
• Heads of Staff of the Army, Air Force and Navy,
• Mr. Central Director of the Health Service of the Armed Forces,
• Heads of the different bodies and regiments,
• Ladies / Gentlemen development partners, local and international organizations for the implementation of the prevention program of HIV / AIDS within the Togolese armed forces,
• Distinguished Guests,
• Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning! I am honored to be representing the American people on the occasion of the handover of a large supply of medical and laboratory equipment to the Central Directorate of the Health Service of the Armed Forces. I am pleased that the U.S. Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP) has provided these resources to equip the medical centers of the army and also strengthen to the technical equipment of its laboratories. I am particularly proud to take part in this ceremony because the promotion of quality care and the treatment of infectious diseases is a cause close to my heart as it constitutes one of the main objectives of our diplomatic mission.
Ladies and gentlemen, over the past eight years, the US Department of Defense, through DHAPP, has actively and successfully supported the Togolese Armed Forces, their families and the civilians living near the military garrisons to prevent and effectively manage cases of HIV/AIDS. This program aims to improve public health in Togo and to achieve the ambitious international goal of an AIDS-free generation by 2030. The average annual budget allocated by DHAPP to implement interventions in Togo varies between $ 200,000 and $ 500,000.
A key strategy for DHAPP in Togo is providing equipment to the Armed Forces’ medical centers and laboratories, which can in turn use this support to fight against HIV / AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and help treat patients infected by these diseases.
Following a recent visit by the Director of DHAPP in Togo, it became clear there was a lack of certain medical and laboratory equipment that jeopardized the proper functioning of the centers and seriously compromised the overall care of military patients. As a result, DHAPP partnered with an American charitable organization, Project C.U.R.E., to deliver Togo two full shipping containers of medical equipment. DHAPP subsequently provided an additional amount of more than 55,000 to the program to pay for purchases of new laboratory equipment.
HIV/AIDS in the armed forces is a threat to military personnel and their families and for the people they protect. The prevalence of the disease in the armed forces undermines troop readiness, and even prevents some countries with high rates of HIV-prevalence from deploying a full contingent on time. Even if these countries can find new recruits, preparedness and teamwork are threatened if the replacements were not trained together previously. Furthermore, HIV/AIDS impacts troop readiness due to the loss of a number of highly-trained and skilled military members due to illness.
Over the years, the program has worked with the Directorate of Army Health Services and The Association of Soldiers, Veterans, Friends, and Uniformed Personnel (AMACACH), with encouraging results. The latest study shows that the rate of HIV prevalence fell by half over the past four years. (7.7 percent to 3.8 percent).
Here are some other outstanding results of 2015: over eight hundred thousand (800,000) male and female condoms were distributed, over thirteen thousand (13,000) rapid tests for HIV were conducted, more than sixteen hundred people (1600) living with HIV received medical services and care, more than thirteen hundred (1300) patients received antiretroviral treatment, more than one hundred and ninety (190) pregnant women were enrolled in the program to prevent HIV/AIDS from mother to child with total success, that is to say, 100 percent of their children were born healthy, and HIV negative. Furthermore, DHAPP funded a US organization, Global Scientific Solutions for Health (GSSHEALTH), to implement a major program of improvement and accreditation of medical laboratories at the two largest facilities, Lomé and Kara. And already many processes have been improved.
This is the place to salute the efforts Association of Soldiers, Veterans, Friends, and Uniformed Personnel to organize ongoing education activities regarding behavior change, detection, and medical and psychological follow up in all the garrisons of the military. My thanks also go to the Directorate of Health Service, and GSSHEALTH for their performance in the implementation of recent programs.
So, on behalf of the US Government, I have the pleasure of presenting this set of medical and laboratory equipment to the Central Directorate of Army Health Services. The donation consists of beds, incubators, refrigerators, roll mixers, baths, micropipettes and calibration kits, and office equipment for the Division of Monitoring-Evaluation of the Central Directorate and the laboratory of the Central Military Hospital of Lome (CHAL), to name a few. Most of these devices have already been installed and are currently being used by doctors, nurses, and laboratory technicians for the benefit of patients.
Today, scientific advancements coupled successes achieved in the effective prevention of HIV/AIDS, have made possible the hope of a generation without AIDS. In sub- Saharan Africa, where the epidemic has hit the hardest, new HIV infections declined by nearly 50 percent since 2001, and AIDS mortality declined by almost a third since 2005. This growth is the result of partnerships like this between DHAPP and the Togolese Armed Forces.
The United States is proud of their global leadership role in these efforts. With research, funding and direct support to HIV services, we have always led the way in this fight, and are proud to work together with you to this common objective.
In conclusion, I would like once again to express our sincere thanks to the General Staff and the Central Directorate of Health Services of the Army for their continued support to the Embassy and its health programs.
I thank you.