Remarks by Matthew Miller
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission
On the occasion of the Donation of Materials under the Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program
September 11, 2019
Distinguished Guests and members of the press;
I am so pleased to be here with you today, representing the U.S. Embassy on this occasion. The United States is a committed partner and friend of Cameroon, and today’s event touches on several important aspects of this partnership between our two countries.
First, contributing to improved health outcomes for Cameroonians is one of the top priorities for U.S. foreign assistance investments in Cameroon. We have been working side by side with Cameroon for years, and have invested over half a billion dollars to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, COVID-19, and other diseases. Together we have achieved major accomplishments, like Cameroon’s recent certification of eradication of wild poliovirus.
Our largest investment has been in fighting HIV/AIDS, spending nearly $100 million on this disease this year alone, supporting testing and treatment. This support is being managed by a team of U.S. agencies, and one of those agencies is the Department of Defense. Today’s donation of condoms is part of that assistance, contributing to controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Just like a healthy population can better contribute to the country’s development and prosperity, a healthy military can better provide stability and safety for the population through improved military readiness, capability to deploy, and physical and emotional wellbeing.
Support through the U.S. Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program has achieved a lot. Together we have tested over 118,000 military and civilians at military health facilities. We placed over 7,000 individuals on HIV treatment so they can live a normal life and are not at risk of spreading the disease. U.S. support also upgraded and equipped the Military Research Laboratory with equipment to do HIV testing.
The second key aspect of our bilateral partnership addressed today is security cooperation. The HIV/AIDS Prevention Program is one of many military cooperation programs currently operating to support our mutual security interests. Some other programs are building capacity in aviation, from pilot skills to mechanics and airbase defense, to support counterterrorism operations in the Far North. Other programs support Cameroon’s Maritime Operations Centers to enhance the Navy’s ability to combat piracy, illegal fishing, and trafficking. We also send young Cameroonians to do university studies at U.S. military academies, and Cameroonian military officers do professional studies at training facilities in the U.S. alongside their American counterparts.
With this strong record of cooperation, I am confident we can accomplish our goal of controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Cameroon.