Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ambassador Sanders' Goodwill Message Delivered during the People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) Support Day

Goodwill Message

Ambassador Sanders participation in
“People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) Support Day at Defense Health Club”

Abuja, Nigeria
February 17, 2009, 10-11:00 a.m.

All Other Protocols Duly Observed

It is my pleasure to be here today and present the Defense Health Club with this equipment purchased by the people and government of the United States. As we celebrate our two-week activities to underscore the U.S.-Nigeria partnership, we are also proud to celebrate the fact that our close partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Defense has increased access to HIV/AIDS services for thousands of Nigerians, both military and civilian. Over the past three years and in partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Defense, the U.S. Government's Department of Defense HIV Program has provided over $33 million dollars to combat HIV/AIDS in Nigeria as part of the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, also known as PEPFAR.

Until recently, many of our friends living with HIV/AIDS wondered whether prevention or treatment could ever succeed in environments where resources, assistance, and care were limited, and where having HIV was considered a death sentence. For the past three years, the partnership has provided renovations, equipment, training, and HIV/AIDS treatment through the staff of the Defense Headquarters Medical Centre.

Here at the Defense Health Club, you are providing psycho-social support and prevention efforts which are so critical to the “complete” approach to treatment. You are reaching out to those who are vulnerable to this terrible disease. With the equipment donated by the American people, those living with HIV/AIDS are now empowered to generate income. With an emphasis on emotional, physical, and financial support, you are helping vulnerable people transition back into society. While the Military partnership can provide funds, only the people can turn these funds into results. At the Defense Health Club, you are leading that effort with the strength of your members.

I commend the leadership of the Ministry of Defense, the Commander of Mogadishu Barracks, Commander Defense Headquarters Medical Centre, members of the Defense Health Club and all members of the community for your efforts in supporting this joint program. Activities like this transcend individual nations and people and turn the world into a single community.

Thank you