Speech by the Acting U.S. Consul General, Dehab Ghebreab at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Lagos Warehouse-in-a box (August 27, 2015)

PROTOCOL:

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health

All protocols duly observed.

I’m delighted to join colleagues in representing the U.S. government at today’s ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical warehouse here in Lagos.  As you have heard, this facility will be part of a network of warehouses the U.S. Government is supporting through our President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  In February this year, many of the people here witnessed a similar groundbreaking event in Abuja.  Congratulations to Lagosians and people living in the region.

The construction of this facility demonstrates the United States Government’s commitment to improve the well-being of all Nigerians.  Our investment here will help ensure that Nigeria has the warehouse infrastructure that meets international standards to efficiently store medicines and other pharmaceutical products to provide good health care and save lives.

As a mother, I understand and appreciate the importance of access to quality medicine.  If my child gets sick at night or in school, I want my child to be seen by a health practitioner or a doctor and be given the medicine needed to cure him.  I am sure every parent wants that.  I also want to know that my neighbor who is in labor will be able to get the drugs that prevent post-partum hemorrhaging; that her newborn baby will be protected from cord infection.  Additionally, I want to know that the young family across the street has the bed-nets they need to prevent malaria.

I have Nigerian friends who tell me that getting everyday medicines can be difficult.  Clinics experience shortages and there are times when drugs are simply not available in public health facilities.  We also hear about counterfeit medicines in general, and malaria medication in particular that is out there.  And when people are desperate and cannot find medication, they buy what they can find.

As friends of Nigeria, are working in close partnership with the Government of Nigeria at both the state and federal level, we doing all we can to ensure medicines are available everywhere, anytime.

Our investments in strengthening Nigeria’s health system go considerably beyond just constructing buildings.  The U.S. government is also working closely with Nigeria’s federal, state, and local governments to improve the quality and availability of health services.  Part of this effort focuses on building the management and logistical systems required to have a reliable, national health care system, one which has both a strong public as well as private health care providers.

What we are witnessing today will make it possible for doctors and nurses to save millions of lives.  Good health is the foundation that accelerates national development.  And I cannot be more proud to say that the U.S. government is contributing to the Nigerian leadership’s effort to improve health care for all Nigerians.

Thank you.