Monday, September 22, 2008

Ambassador Sanders' Remarks at Official Flag Off of Malaria-Free Kwara Program

U.S. Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders
Remarks as prepared for delivery
Official Flag Off
Malaria-Free Kwara Program, Ilorin

Monday, September 22, 2008

“Every Child Must Live”. This is the motto of the Kwara State Health Reform agenda and it reflects the initiative this state has taken under the leadership of the Honorable Governor Saraki to do what a government should do, invest in its people. I am honored to be part of such a momentous occasion.

The U.S. Mission in Nigeria is dedicated to partnering with federal, state and local governments, civil society organizations and the business community to strengthen the health sector in Nigeria. In this effort we are committed to combating malaria, one of Nigeria’s biggest killers of children under the age of five.

One of the main U.S. Government policy thrusts is in the area of health, particularly malaria. The U.S. Government is one of the biggest donor contributors to the health sector. My Mission, on behalf of the U.S. Government distributed and sold more than 3.5 million insecticide treated nets in Nigeria. We are also working closely with local and international partners to train health care workers on the proper use of intermittent, preventative treatment for pregnant women. One of our local partners, WomanKind Family, has been very effective in promoting the fight against malaria in Kwara State through social mobilization, malaria education, and training on the uses and benefits of insecticide treated nets. Another local partner, the Royal Covenant Heritage Foundation, is working closely with Faith-based groups and several local communities on health promotion programs. On a broader scale, we are supporting drug regulatory agencies to ensure that service providers use proper methods to treat malaria, as inappropriate treatments lead to anti-microbial resistance.

Governor Saraki’s forward-thinking approach to providing free malaria treatment to children and pregnant women is commendable. I also want to recognize the wonderful work of the First Lady on this and other health issues for women and children. Your Excellency, as you know, by investing in the women and children you are investing in the future of Kwara Sate, and in the future of Nigeria. So it is with great honor and pleasure that I am here to help flag-off this Malaria-Free program today. The U.S. Government and my Mission are partners with you in this very important fight against one of the main causes of infant mortality. Together we are partners in this fight and I know that you will reap considerable returns on this vital investment in your future. Thank you.