Honorable Alex Segbefia, Minister of Health
Mr Haile Girmay, Country Director, UNAIDS
Mr. Adotei Brown, past district governor
Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you for inviting me to participate today. The United States is proud to be working through USAID and its implementing partners to support Rotary Family Health Days.
Child survival and maternal health have been a focus of U.S. foreign assistance for decades. Every year we spend nearly 1.5 billion dollars globally on what is not only public health issue, but also a moral imperative. Today, we rededicate ourselves to helping the hundreds of communities in this country that suffer from the senseless tragedy of losing children and new mothers.
We are here today working toward the overall strategy of Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths. This is, no doubt, an ambitious vision. But it is anachievable vision. In the past two decades, we have seen global rates of child mortality, chronic hunger, and extreme poverty cut in half. Each day this year, 17,000 more children will live than would have 20 years ago. Each day, 700 more women will survive childbirth than would have 20 years ago. This is due to the combined efforts of governments, organizations, partners, and leaders. If we accelerate this rate of reduction, by 2030 we could live in a world where every child, everywhere, lives to celebrate a 5th birthday.
Maternal, newborn, and child mortality remain unacceptably high in Ghana, especially considering the economic progress this country has made over the past decade. However, Ghana is working to strengthen its approach to improving child survival. Rotary Family Health Days provide critical health services to underserved areas, and we are very proud to support this work.
Rotary Family Health Days will deliver health screening services to vulnerable children, women, and men throughout the Greater Accra, Eastern, Central, and Volta regions. This furthers the goal of USAID’s integrated health, population, and nutrition program, which is to improve the health and well-being of people in Ghana.
Over the next several days, you will see stands sponsored by USAID implementing partners. These stands will provide information about family planning methods, condoms, mosquito nets, and Aquatabs. There will be educational films on malaria and the necessity of hand washing, as well as mobile hand washing stations present at all 40 sites.
The U.S. government has a notable history of working with Rotary International in Ghana. Through our partnerships in water and sanitation, we constructed three small-town water schemes, built family and institutional latrines, and drilled more than 40 boreholes. Today marks the second year of our participation in Rotary’s Family Health Days, and we are pleased to continue this collaboration.
We want to thank Rotary’s leaders, who have tirelessly led the organization. I applaud the efforts of Rotary International to increase awareness of Family Health issues, and to provide essential services to Ghanaians. Through partnerships such as this one, we can achieve that ambitious vision. We can end preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030.