May 16, 2020
His Excellency Minister of Health EteniLongondo,
Ms. BodilSerejoe, HPP–CONGO National Director,
Mr. FaustinMalele, ICAP National Director,
Mr. Douglas NkuluNumbi, Mayor of Limete
Dr. Alexis Kalume, Head of the Provincial Division of Health
Here we are on a Saturday because our cooperation on health is among my Embassy’s top priorities – we literally work on it every day because as President Tshisekedi has said, a country cannot be prosperous without health. Our assistance and work together to improve health on Congo is a core pillar of our US-DRC PP4PP.
It is my pleasure to deliver this donation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, to five hospitals in Kinshasa-Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Monkole Hospital, the Hospital for the Chinese-Congolese Friendship, Kinkole Hospital, and Vijana Hospital-to help your efforts to treat those infected with COVID19 and prevent others from contracting the virus.
This donation includes a variety of items – computer kits, patient monitoring devises, sterilization tools, washing stations, Thermoflash infrared thermometers, and more – that will help treat and monitor COVID patients as well as help reduce the risk of COVID spreading within the hospital.
This equipment represents only a small part of the $29 million the U.S. has thus far announced as its contribution to combating the effects of COVID-19 in the DRC.
We also announced that White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien called President Tshisekedi to inform him that the U.S, will be providing high-end respirators, which we hope will arrive soon in DRC – our goal is to save lives. That call was an expression of support for the DRC’s efforts against Covid, also against Ebola.
But there is another disease that President Tshisekedi is also fighting, which the United States strongly supports – and that is corruption. Working with Minister Longondo we will ensure American assistance goes to the Congolese people who need it and not into anyone’s personal pockets – those times are over. We applaud President Tshisekedi for holding corrupt officials accountable and determination to bring an end to impunity.
With the help of an active media, when there is credible information of possible wrongdoing, it should be investigated and then brought to trial. Everyone deserves an fair trail but no one, no matter how powerful or influential, is above the law- that is important for a democracy, and that is what the DRC needs Now to meet its vast potential and deliver a better future for its people.
In addition to providing equipment to hospitals, the U.S. has top CDC expert personnel permanently in country, here in Kinshasa, providing technical support to laboratories and the national response commission. They were here during the Ebola outbreak, are working on Covid-19 and will remain long after this Covid-19 crisis is over because our commitment to improving the health of the Congolese people is enduring.
We also work to bolster local water and sanitation activities, help maintain education for out-of-school children through distance learning programs, and journalists and opinion leaders to educate Congolese on the dangers of COVID-19 and how we can best protect ourselves against it.
Assisting to improve health systems is one of the top goals of the U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, established in April 2019 after President Tshisekedi’s first official trip to Washington, DC. But, in fact, the the U.S. has long been the DRC’s top partner in health cooperation. Over the past 20 years, we have provided over a billion and a half dollars to support Congolese health and health systems. We have provided over $500 million to soon end the Ebola outbreak in eastern DRC.
As we have in the past, the United States will aid the DRC during its time of need. We will continue to help the DRC build resilient health care systems that can prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks of infectious disease. Just as the U.S. has made the world more healthy, peaceful, and prosperous for generations, so will we lead in defeating our shared pandemic enemy – COVID-19. We will rise stronger in its wake. #TousEnsemble