Secretary Azar’s visit demonstrates U.S. commitment to help build a healthier Congo

Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, meets DRC President, Félix Tshisekedi, during visit to DRC.

September 11, 2019

In April 2019, President Tshisekedi traveled to Washington to affirm our two countries’ relationship rooted in our shared priorities to advance human rights, promote security and stability, respect the rule of law, fight corruption, and increase mutually beneficial trade and investment ties. We launched the Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, a framework for cooperation representing our shared commitment to accelerate human and economic development in the DRC. Improving the health of the Congolese people is an important aspect of our privileged partnership, and therefore Alex Azar, Secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) – the U.S. equivalent to the Minister of Health – will visit the DRC to discuss with President Tshisekedi and his administration the current Ebola outbreak and ways to further strengthen our cooperation in the health sector.

The United States is the largest bilateral donor to the DRC’s health sector. Through the U.S. Government agencies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) we have worked with the DRC for decades to fight infectious diseases like Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, measles, polio, cholera, monkey pox, yellow fever, and river blindness. Through PEPFAR — the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — 108,797 HIV-infected persons in the DRC receive antiretroviral treatment. CDC has collaborated with the DRC’s Ministry of Health since 2002 to expand access to HIV and tuberculosis treatment, advance disease control and elimination, and step up the country’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks, including Ebola, within its borders. USAID recently committed $314 million to support primary health care services for Congolese and since August 2018 has provided nearly $158 million to help stop the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu. Millions of Congolese each year see better health outcomes and are able to lead healthy, productive lives with the support of U.S. Government assistance.

Secretary Azar’s visit, the first by a U.S. HHS Secretary to the DRC, further demonstrates the Trump Administration’s commitment to working together to build a healthier Congo. In addition to meeting President Tshisekedi, Secretary Azar will learn from Congolese experts, including new Minister of Health Eteni Longondo and Dr. Jean Jacques Muyembe, how the United States can further support local and international efforts to stop the Ebola Virus outbreak. The United States stands with the Congolese people and will continue to support the DRC Government’s efforts to improve their living conditions.