U.S. Embassy Abuja Deputy Chief of Mission Maria Brewer today joined the Department of Defense Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Jonathan Woodson, to preside over the re-commissioning of two boreholes situated in Tafa, Kagarko Local Government, Kaduna State.
Country Director of the Walter Reed Program-Nigeria, Robbie Nelson, along with Senior International Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Response Analyst Diana Parzik, Tafa Youth Leader Abdulmumini Idris, and representatives of the Tafa District Head, the village heads, and prominent Tafa community leaders, all participated in the ceremony.
Deputy Chief of Mission Brewer said the U.S. Mission, in partnership with the Government of Nigeria and the local community, have proven that with a small investment, the people of Tafa can be provided clean water, increased health awareness and links to care and treatment.
The Country Director of WRP-N, Robbie Nelson, said his agency will continue to work with the Tafa community to identify other health needs and undertake appropriate interventions. Also addressing the gathering, Assistant Secretary Woodson, remarked that, “ongoing engagement with Tafa, and communities like it around the country, is vital to building a bridge between the military and the communities in which they serve.”
The boreholes are a collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Walter Reed Program-Nigeria (WRP-N) and the U.S. Embassy to address the need of the Tafa community for potable drinking water.
Two simple hand-operated boreholes were sunk by the WRP-N and commissioned by the director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP), COL Nelson Michael, in November 2011. The boreholes broke down, and at the request of WRP-N, the Civil Military Support Element (CMSE) at US the Embassy reactivated the two boreholes, installing electric pumps and water tanks. The Walter Reed Program-Nigeria works in partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Defense under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria.
Its activities have since become a model partnership between the U.S. and Nigeria and showcases how the two governments can work together toward a common good. It also demonstrates how the Nigerian and U.S. militaries can engage with communities in Nigeria to improve their health awareness and wellbeing.
To show their appreciation, the community’s dance group sang and praised the government and people of the United States for renovating the boreholes and providing other health assistance. They also presented gifts of local bids to the visiting dignitaries.