December 01, 2021, Macia District
Your Excellency Dr. Isaura Ferrão Nyusi, Wife of the President of the Republic of Mozambique,
Excellency the Secretary of State of Gaza Province,
Presidente do Conselho Municipal da vila da Macia.
Dra. Idalina Libombo, CNCS Vice Executive Secretary)
Senhor(s) Director do Centro SEKELEKA.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. I am deeply honored to be here with you to commemorate World AIDS Day, an important moment for us to remember the friends and loved ones we have lost to this disease, while also reflecting on the work needed to achieve an AIDS-free generation.
The United Nations, United States, and Mozambique all chose themes for this year’s World AIDS Day, which emphasizes the importance of providing HIV/AIDS services throughout society, equally, and equitably.
Your Excellency Dr. Isaura Ferrão Nyusi: Thank you for inviting me here today. I thank you for your leadership and your personal commitment to helping Mozambique to control HIV by 2030. The attention you bring to helping every Mozambican child to live happy, healthy, productive lives is the key to a bright future.
Mozambique has continuously made progress towards the UNAIDS’ 95-95-95 goal: that 95 percent of the people living with HIV know their HIV status; that 95 percent of those people are on treatment for HIV; and that 95 percent of them are virally suppressed and no longer spreading HIV.
While we should celebrate the advances in healthcare over the last 20 years, there is still much work to be done. For example, today, more than 1.6 million Mozambicans are receiving antiretroviral medication, and everyone who tests positive is able to immediately begin treatment. Nevertheless, there are still almost 40 percent of children living with HIV who are not receiving that life-saving treatment. And more than 13 percent of HIV-positive mothers transmit the disease during childbirth.
We must continue our hard work in assuring access to treatment for every Mozambican, regardless of their family’s income, their gender, or the area in which they live. This is especially true for children.
Through our longstanding partnership, and as the largest bilateral donor to Mozambique, the work of the United States and Mozambican governments allows us to continue advancing essential maternal and pediatric HIV services. This includes testing and treatment for pregnant and breastfeeding women, preventive medication for exposed infants, timely testing, and immediate provision of care.
I’ve personally witnessed the commitment of the Mozambican government, health professionals, and community health workers, in providing family and client-centered care, which makes a difference in the lives of all Mozambicans, but especially children. Despite the ongoing challenges, we have seen improvements in the quality of life for children living with HIV. More of them are receiving the testing and effective treatment and better family support services. These proven interventions need to continue to be scaled up.
It is equally important to address the social impact of HIV on orphans and vulnerable children. Estimates indicate that more than half of Mozambique’s 14 million children need some form of social support. The needs range from medical care to education to family economic support. This year alone, the United States Government is supporting social services to nearly 375,000 children who have been orphaned due to HIV and AIDS, with a special focus on supporting those children who are living with HIV.
Ladies and gentlemen, the world has lived with the HIV epidemic for the past 40 years. But in the face of such a momentous challenge, I am encouraged by the universal understanding that solidarity, unity, compassion, and hope are required ingredients to face this disease.
On behalf of the government of the United States of America, I recommit us to working side-by-side with our Mozambican partners to see the day in which:
- All men and women are protected from HIV infection.
- All children and adults living with HIV have access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment so they can lead healthy, productive lives;
- The day in which no babies are born with HIV; and
- The day in which we can claim that we have achieved an AIDS-free generation.
Thank you very much.