Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Ambassador Christopher J. Lamora
Launch of USAID Supply Chain Project “Increasing Site-level Availability of Health Commodities in the Littoral Region of Cameroon” (ISAHC)
Friday, August 18, 9:00-11:00
Regional Fund for Health Promotion, Douala
The Governor of the Littoral Region;
The Regional Delegate of Public Health;
Officials of the Central Level Administration;
The President of the National Council of Pharmacists;
The Administrator of the Regional Fund for the Promotion of Health;
Ladies and gentlemen,
It’s with great pleasure that I join you today to launch the USAID Health Supply Chain Project on “Increasing Site-level Availability of Health Commodities in the Littoral Region (ISAHC).” [pronounced: ee-ZAK]
I‘m not here today to talk about the COVID-19 pandemic, which we are thankfully increasingly able to put behind us. But I just want to start off with the brief reflection that an important lesson we all learned from that experience is the enormous value of global cooperation to face and overcome serious challenges in the public health sector. I’m proud of our collaboration with the government and people of Cameroon during the pandemic, just as I’m proud of our longstanding and extensive health collaboration across the board. Today’s project launch fits squarely into that legacy.
This year we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, which has saved millions of lives around the world. In Cameroon, PEPFAR has invested more than 385 billion francs CFA. And here in the Littoral Region, we have supported over 85,000 people living with HIV/AIDS and 400 health facilities that provide HIV/AIDS products and services.
But today marks an exciting new chapter. We’re here to celebrate the launch of ISAHC, a project to empower local actors to develop effective, sustainable solutions for the supply chain of HIV/AIDS medication in Cameroon.
It’s a three-year project awarded to the Cameroon Regional Fund for Health Promotion of the Littoral Region, with an anticipated budget of over 588 million francs CFA.
And it’s a demonstration of our commitment to support local organizations through PEPFAR generally, and through USAID’s localization agenda in particular.
USAID’s localization agenda recognizes that development and humanitarian challenges are vast and complex, but they are also inherently local. The same is true of the many opportunities to address these challenges. Experience has shown that local leadership over where, how, and why we collaborate is the route to greater equity, effectiveness, and sustainability.
We hope that lessons learned from the ISAHC project will encourage the extension of the initiative to other regions and beyond HIV commodities. The project serves as a model to advance U.S. government efforts to support locally led initiatives, enabling communities to be the drivers of programs and services that support their own needs.
This also tracks closely with the Cameroonian government’s longtime effort over many years to decentralize power and decision-making authority from Yaoundé to local government entities and thus bring service delivery closer to the people.
So far, in its early stages of implementation, the ISAHC project has made tremendous strides, ensuring that there is no shortage of medications for HIV patients, that health facilities receive necessary supplies in a timely manner, and that storage conditions of health commodities are improved. It’s impressive and worth noting that the project is expediting the transport of health commodities to health facilities, reducing the average delivery time to just three days even to the most remote areas while ensuring that no targeted location is left behind.
Furthermore, this project is leveraging technology to improve data collection, monitoring, and the forecasting of medication needs. The innovative tracking systems are helping to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the health supply chain in Cameroon to make sure that medication reaches those who need it, when they need it. Supply chain ruptures, stock tensions, and delivery delays put lives at risk – an outcome we must all work unceasingly to prevent.
With progress being made on tracking, delivery, and storage, it’s our sincere hope that all ISAHC project stakeholders continue promoting good distribution practices, because equally important is the preservation of the quality and efficacy of life-saving health supplies.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I’ve said before to others, much work remains to achieve our shared vision of ending HIV as a public health threat by 2030. Yet I’m confident that we will get there together.
This project is a testament to our strong partnership—a testament that by working together, combining our resources and expertise, we can develop sustainable local solutions to improve people’s lives.
In closing, I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to all the healthcare workers, community leaders, and organizations who work tirelessly towards improving access to HIV/AIDS medication in Cameroon. Your dedication and commitment are an inspiration to us all. The success of this project relies on your expertise and collaboration, which we know you will continue to put forth in the service of your fellow citizens.
Together with the Government of Cameroon, the private sector, and civil society, the United States Government remains committed to bringing about positive change in local communities for an ever-healthier Cameroon.
On est ensemble. Thank you all.