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U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec Attends Boat Handover Ceremony in Support of USAID and PEPFAR

September 22, 2014 - Usenge Bay, Siaya County

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec officiated the handover of three boats to the governments of Siaya County, Busia County and Homa Bay County in Western Kenya on September 22.  The boats were procured by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in order to help Kenyans improve county-level health service delivery, in particular HIV prevention, care, and treatment.  Siaya County Governor Cornel Rasanga Amoth was present at the event with USAID Kenya Mission Director Karen Freeman and deputies from Homa Bay and Busia Counties.

USAID has invested $142.7 million in the AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance program, known as APHIAplus Nyanza/Western, implemented by PATH, in ten counties around Lake Victoria.  APHIAPlus, combines family planning, maternal/child health, malaria, nutrition, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment services to provide an integrated, high-quality, equitable approach to sustain services at the national, county, and community levels will assist with improving health services more widely in the communities.

Remarks - As Prepared - of Ambassador Robert F. Godec at USAID Boat Handover at Usenge Bay of Siaya County, Lake Victoria

Hamjambo, mabibi na mabwana! Habari zenu?

Governor Cornel Rasanga Amoth (Siaya County), Deputy Governor Kizito Wangalwa (Busia County), Deputy Governor Hamilton Onyango Orata (Homa Bay County), Siaya County Commissioner Joseph Mdege Kimiywi; development partners; ladies and gentlemen. 

Good afternoon.  It is a pleasure to join you here on the shores of the beautiful Lake Victoria. 

I am here today to present three motor boats, each worth six million Kenyan Shillings, to the county governments of Siaya, Homa Bay and Busia Counties as part of the American people’s commitment to strengthen healthcare and human capacity in Kenya. 

Lake Victoria is stunning – but it presents many logistical challenges for those who live along its shores, as well as for the Government of Kenya as it seeks to provide services.  Access to health services isn’t easy for island communities.  In the communities around this lake, the percentage of the population infected with HIV is approximately 25 percent - significantly higher than the national average of six percent.  The Lake Victoria region is also an endemic malaria zone with one of the highest incidents of malaria transmission in KenyaThe percentage of your children who are fully vaccinated is significantly lower than other parts of Kenya.  We want to help change that. 

The boats I am handing over today will help facilitate the care and treatment of those with HIV in the hard-to-reach island populations, and they will help health counselors implement HIV prevention programs to reduce the prevalence of HIV in your counties.  They will also contribute to delivering all health services to these islands.

Our donation of boats is part of a much larger U.S.-funded program called AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance, or APHIAplus. APHIAplus Western/Nyanza is a five-year program that focuses on the ten counties surrounding Lake Victoria.  It is implemented by our Agency for International Development, USAID, and includes funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the President’s Malaria Initiative and funds for Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths.  We devote more than 12 billion Kenyan Shillings to this program.  The program combines family planning, maternal/child health, malaria, nutrition, and HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment services to provide an integrated, high-quality, equitable approach to sustainable services at the national, county, and community levels.  Put simply, the program improves the health of Kenyans.

To date, APHIAplus Western/Nyanza has reached more than 2 million Kenyans in the ten counties around Lake Victoria with HIV testing, counseling and services.  APHIA plus has also supported nearly 200,000 orphans and vulnerable children to access the services they need to lead productive lives. The program currently supports nearly 800 health facilities in the Lake Victoria region.

APHIAplus works in partnership with the Kenya Ministry of Health, your county governments, and community leaders.  Improving county-level accountability, institutional capacity, and management of health service delivery is an important step toward strengthening health and human capacity in Kenya, one of the U.S. Government’s development objectives.

The United States Government has been a committed partner to Kenya for the past 50 years.  As Kenya brings its government closer to the people through devolution and other reforms from the 2010 constitution, our programs will support county-level health service delivery so that quality health care can reach everyone – even, and especially, those of you who live on isolated islands that have been so hard to reach.

The three boats we are here to launch today will do just that.  Now, I am proud to officially hand them over to the governments of Siaya, Busia and Homa Bay counties. 

Thank you.  Asenteni sana.

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