Remarks With Dr. Mwajuma Mbaga at the Buguruni Health Center

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
June 12, 2011

DR. MBAGA: Good afternoon all. Thank you everybody for coming at our health center. I’m very much happy to welcome Secretary Madam Hillary Clinton and the U.S. delegation to our health center. You are warmly welcome, feel at home, feel at (inaudible) here at Buguruni. (Laughter, Cheering, and Applause.) Madam, I hope you are enjoying very well your tour in Tanzania, especially in Buguruni Health Center. As we have seen in those who are patients and our health workers, we are happy to see you, to be with you today. You are welcome. And all of us, we appreciate your leadership on women and health issues. You are welcome again. I’ll take this opportunity to welcome, to make few remarks at all (inaudible). Welcome, Madam. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Habari gani

(Audience echoes.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much Dr. Mwajuma for everything you’re doing here at this center. (Applause and Cheering.) And I am so pleased on a Sunday to see many of you, because we are very proud of the center. And I am also grateful that Ms. Nyoni from the ministry of health is here.

And there are a number of our American partners, from USAID, our mission director and the head of our global AIDS coordinator, Dr. Goosby, Ambassador Goosby, who walked around with me as well as Assistant Secretary Carson, Ambassador Lenhardt. And we are here for a very simple reason. We strongly support the excellent care that is provided here at this health center.

I understand that on an average day – now, Sunday is not an average day – about 500 patients come here a day looking for healthcare and family planning services. They include pregnant women, ready to give birth, mothers bringing their small children in for checkups, people receiving treatment for malaria and HIV, and so much more. Thanks to this center, many women survive childbirth who might not have before. Many children survive childhood and grow up to be health workers or other productive citizens of this country. And those with HIV stay healthier and stronger.

These are the kinds of outcomes and results that we want to help you achieve, because we strongly believe that improving health for communities begins with improving health for women and girls, particularly pregnant women and their babies, because that is where it all starts. And so the United States is proud to support this center and we’re proud to have a partnership with the Government of Tanzania.

And what we have done in the United States Government is to try to better coordinate all of our health programs. I was saying to the doctor that for too long we had a program on immunization that you went one place to get, then we had a program on HIV/AIDS you another place to get, and then somebody came perhaps to you about malaria, and then when it came to maternal and child health – we have tried to combine all of those programs in a center like this one through our Global Health Initiative. We want to ensure that when a mother brings her children to a clinic she can get all the critical care she needs here rather than being told, well, we only do malaria here and so you have to go somewhere else to be tested for HIV. We want it all in one place.

The first principle of our Global Health Initiative is to focus on women, girls, and gender equality, and that is something that we very much appreciate about this center, because when women are healthy their children are healthy, and the family is healthier, and so is the community. So we have significantly increased our financial commitment to maternal and child health and family planning, and we are taking steps to address the economic, cultural, social, and legal barriers that prevent women and girls from accessing healthcare services.

And we are doing one more important piece of health, and that is gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is a violation of human rights. It also is an obstacle to a country’s political and economic development. It discourages women from going out into the community, from participating freely and securely in the outside world, and it is a physical and mental trauma that fuels the spread of disease, including HIV. That’s why the United States believes that monitoring, preventing, and responding to gender-based violence must be a core part of both the Global Health Initiative and PEPFAR.

So I was very pleased that last year we provided $38 million for this work in more than 28 countries. And we’ve announced an additional $60 million, making PEPFAR one of the largest investors in fighting gender-based violence worldwide, and I thank Dr. Goosby for his visionary leadership. (Applause.)

Now, Tanzania is one of the countries we are going to focus on. And today I am proud to announce that PEPFAR, part of the United States Government, is launching a three-year, $24 million initiative to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in Tanzania. (Applause and Cheering.) Now, the reason we are doing this is because the Government of Tanzania has shown a strong commitment. I commend the ministry of health for its efforts, and I commend the ministry of community development, gender, and children. And what I just saw upstairs – how many of you have seen the play about gender-based violence that is put on by the actors here? I just saw it. It is so powerful, I was crying, and I was so happy when the husband decided to take care of his wife instead of beat her. (Applause.)

We look forward to a future here in Tanzania and around the world where women and girls are healthy, valued, and safe. And we look forward to our strong partnership with Tanzania and with this health center. Now, I know that Dr. Mwajama has already lobbied me as we say in Washington. (Applause and Cheering.) I can see why she’s considered quite a leader, because she’s already telling me what else that you need here at the health center. (Laughter.) And I like to reward people who are already doing what needs to be done, because you do it not only for yourselves and your patients, but you set an example, doctor. You set a model.

Now, I have said all day today that we see Tanzania as a model for development. We are investing a lot of money and effort, and we think first and foremost it will be good for the people of Tanzania, men, women, girls, and boys. But it will also be good for Africa. I want people all over Africa to say how do we do what Tanzania is doing to take care of their people, and that’s what I think you can do here in this country. Thank you all very much and God bless you. (Applause and Cheering.)

PRN: 2011/T48-18