Three days after presenting his credentials to President Goodluck Jonathan, new U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle, together with his wife, Pam Schmall, performed his first official act with the opening of the Mapa Primary Health Center in Bwari Area Council in Abuja. The November 29 event was his first official act commemorating this year’s World AIDS day.
The Mapa primary health center is a collaborative effort between the Tabitha Cumi Foundation and the U.S. Ambassador’s Small Grants Program. Mapa community is one of the 23 recipients of grants under the 2013 PEPFAR Small Grants Program. The community received $10,000 to construct and furnish a primary health care clinic.
In his remarks, Ambassador Entwistle said the opening was significant as the new health center would provide the community with vital clinical services.
“This clinic is expected to offer a wide range of care options, ranging from primary health care, to ante-natal care and services for pregnant women, to services focused primarily on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. All of this is in keeping with the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day—Getting to Zero,” Ambassador Entwistle said.
Mapa community is a stone’s throw from the Federal Capital Territory (FTC) Abuja and has the highest HIV prevalence in the FCT of 8.6 percent (well above the national median of 4.1 percent). The Bwari Area Council—where Mapa community is situated—has the highest HIV prevalence within the FCT.
Entwistle also announced the U.S. Congress’s passage of new legislation renewing PEPFAR for another five years. “This is the second time the program has been extended, and it highlights the commitment of the American people to ensure that our Nigerian friends and partners have the resources and support they need to effectively treat and prevent HIV/AIDS,” Entwistle added.
Dignitaries at the ribbon-cutting ceremony included the chairman of Bwari Area Council, Peter Ushafa; Chinwe Nebo, wife of the minister of power; Dr. Okey Nwanyanwu, country director, CDC Nigeria; and Tayo Erinle, executive director, Tabita Cumi Foundation.