Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Jessica Long at the tree planting to celebrate the 20th anniversary of CDC Namibia

CDC representatives, U.S. Government Representatives and Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) representatives outside the MoHSS Directorate of Special Programmes HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria office building.

Good afternoon

Advancing health security around the world is a key priority of the U.S. government. One of the ways we achieve this priority is through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opened an office in Namibia in 2002. Twenty years later, in 2022, we are celebrating CDC Namibia working hand in hand with the Namibian Government for two decades. We are proud to be partners in health with the Ministry of Health and Social Services over the last 20 years and we are committed to continuing this partnership.

CDC is the United States’ public health agency. CDC works in the United States, and across the world to prevent and respond to disease threats. Most of the support that CDC provides has been through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), and today we are celebrating the impact of the support from the U.S. Government through CDC Namibia over the last twenty years.

In the last 20 years, the work of CDC Namibia has centered on addressing the TB and HIV epidemic, supporting the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Namibia Institute of Pathology, and civil society partners to prevent new infections, reduce deaths, and provide the best care for people with these infections. But our support has gone much further than HIV and TB. CDC’s work has helped strengthen systems and structures for the broader public health system. For example, CDC has also supported Namibia on many other disease outbreaks, both human and animal including anthrax, monkeypox, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis E, and COVID-19 to name just a few. Working with the Namibian Government, CDC has put science into action to help children stay healthy; to help families, businesses, and communities fight disease; and to protect everyone’s health.

Together we have achieved so much and today we take a moment to celebrate what we have achieved together, and where we are going in the future.

There is a saying that when you plant a tree, you plant hope. I have had the privilege of planting many trees in my career, and I can confirm that this is true. In fact, just last week I planted a tree in a ceremony at our new Embassy that is a symbol of many things, including the abiding U.S.-Namibia partnership. We plant trees, not to see the shade they give us, but to provide the shade for others. Planting a tree is a symbol of what we do in Government, in public health, and in our lives – we are called to live lives of service, to grow deep roots that will help us weather together hard seasons of drought, or COVID, or HIV. CDC Namibia works hand in hand with the Namibian Government to strengthen the provision of healthcare in Namibia. This work, with its deep roots, is overflowing with achievements, successes, and hope. But there is always more work to do. And that is why we are planting this tree, as a symbol of our historic partnership and a commitment of our sustained work together.

On behalf of the U.S. Government, I thank the Ministry of Health and Social Services for the achievements we have reached together and for journey ahead of us.

Thank you.