Remarks by Joakim Parker Mission Director USAID Uganda at the RHITES-North Lango Activity Launch

Speeches Shim

Friday, July 27, 2018
Launch of the Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in Northern Uganda -Lango Activity
 Mission Director making remarks
Joakim Parker, Mission Director USAID Uganda makes remarks at the launch.
Betty Kagoro, USAID

Good morning and welcome, everyone. Thank you so much for the welcome.

On behalf of the U.S. government and Ambassador Malac, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Uganda, and specifically the Ministry of Health and local government, for being here today.  I am honoured to join you in celebrating USAID’s renewal of partnerships in support for healthy outcomes in the Lango region.  Together, we are stronger in our commitment to address challenges in the Lango sub-region and put forth coordinated solutions to improve Lango’s health systems. Though we are here to celebrate this launch, I also want to express our condolences regarding the losses of esteemed leaders in Lira mentioned earlier.

The U.S. government remains committed to helping Ugandans build the country they want and deserve. The programs and activities supported by USAID share a healthy, prosperous, and stable country as their objective.

The largest portion of U.S. government assistance—nearly $500 million—is invested in the health sector because the health and well-being of a country’s population are key to generating prosperity and progress towards self-reliance.  Whether it is controlling the spread of HIV and malaria, ensuring that new mothers and babies receive proper healthcare, or building stronger and more effective health systems, the United States invests in Uganda’s capacity to see its people live up to their full potential.  Healthy children are more likely to stay in school and grow into productive citizens.  Healthy adults live longer and are more effective and productive parents, citizens and workers. A strong and prosperous Uganda is also good for the region and the United States.

I am excited to celebrate the launch of the Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in Northern Uganda (or RHITES-North) Lango activity, one of USAID’s five large health service strengthening and delivery programs in Uganda.  We expect RHITES-North to provide significant, measurable, and lasting impacts on key health indicators such as HIV and malaria prevalence; maternal, neonatal and child mortality; the unmet need for modern contraception; and child development.  Our support in the Lango region will target healthcare platforms at both the facility and community level. Through the integration of these efforts we hope for broad health system strengthening.

The United States has been working in the Lango region for over twelve years to improve health care.  The RHITES-North Lango activity will build on the successes and incorporate lessons from the failures of past efforts in the region. But we must not be complacent, as if this is just another chapter. There is a real urgency to our partnerships, driven by demographic trends, sluggishness on some health indicators and insufficient domestic resources allocated to the sector.

This activity cannot succeed without your involvement and that of many others, particularly with local leadership, both government and private sector.  Success depends on your communities’ health-seeking behaviours, the quality of service delivery by you and your staff, improved governance and higher prioritization in budget processes.

I therefore call on the Government of Uganda and District Local Governments to take the lead to prioritize health services in your districts.  I also ask your communities to participate in this effort and to take responsibility for their own health and healthcare, and that of their children, in particular girls who are disproportionately under-served and marginalized. I’m sure I will be inspired by the young women I meet this afternoon as part of our PEPFAR’s Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe initiative. Uganda needs many more of them, and fewer headlines like the one from earlier this week – “Lira men reject family planning.” Rejecting family planning is denying Uganda its opportunity for girls to become a major engine of prosperity.

We seek more than just the sustainability of interventions supported by USAID.  We seek the sustainability of the outcomes that you will achieve with our support.  That should be the legacy of the U.S. government’s partnerships in Uganda, which represent American generosity.

Today is an inspiring and uplifting day.  It is powerful to witness your commitment to the health and success of Ugandans.  As you embark on this noble and challenging effort to continue improving the health of people in the Lango sub-region, the American people stand with you to improve lives in this beautiful country of Uganda. It is off to an auspicious start, consistent with bounty brought by this year’s rains.

Thank you.

Pauline Hotel, Lira, Uganda
Issuing Country