Remarks by Ambassador Robert Yamate – “Celebrate the Achievements” of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) – A7C Hotel, Antananarivo

Speech by Mr. Robert Yamate, US Ambassador, during the ceremony at the A&C Hotel, Antananarivo

Dear Minister of Health

Dear Minister of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Dear Minister of Population,

Dear Minister of Interior and Decentralization

Dear Chief of Party of the MAHEFA project,

Dear Regional Directors of Health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene,

Dear CCDS and COSAN Chiefs

Dear Community Health Volunteers

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is really a pleasure and an honor for me to be part of this important event to celebrate achievements in community health in some of the most hard-to-reach and isolated districts of Madagascar.

This event marks an important partnership between the Government of Madagascar through its technical ministries, the US government through USAID and its implementing partners, and communities throughout the country. Our collective efforts have resulted in the expansion of the coverage of basic integrated health services to the most vulnerable populations in the northwest of Madagascar.

Worldwide, over 3.5 million community health workers, many of them volunteers, contribute to reduction of maternal, newborn and child deaths. The USG, through USAID, has supported Madagascar’s community health program since 1993 and, through MAHEFA and MIKOLO, our programs continue to evolve and build on available evidence and research to develop the skills of community health volunteers, who are the foundation and essential building blocks of this model. The USAID-supported MAHEFA project is working with more than 6,000 CHVs in 24 districts in the regions of Sava, Diana, Sofia, Boeny, Melaky and Menabe, and provides them with the skills and tools they need to serve their beneficiaries.

Ending Preventable Maternal and Child Deaths is a priority of the United States Government and CHVs have made invaluable contributions towards the achievement of this goal. They educate communities about healthy behaviors, provide more accessible health services, and bring life-saving medicines to the most remote of locations. MAHEFA has supported the training of CHVs to deliver these essential services and has strengthened the capacity of the community health structures at the commune and Fokontany levels so that they can plan and implement health activities. The project has also strengthened the capacity of the MOH staff to provide quality services and effective supervision of community health activities.  This model empowers communities by giving them tools to improve the quality of their health, and to enhance the sustainability of their efforts.

Today, we celebrate our partnership and the results of this fruitful collaboration. This could not have happened without a strong commitment and leadership.  Some examples of MAHEFA’s key achievements will be show cased today in subsequent presentations. We anticipate that these will be replicated elsewhere in the country.

Thank you to the Government of Madagascar and to the MAHEFA team for your valued partnership. Let us all recognize the commitment of all of the community actors for their selfless and humbling dedication to the well-being of their communities and their country. The United States Government is proud to partner with the Government of Madagascar to support the expansion of health coverage and equity for all. We look forward to continuing our partnership to ensure that Madagascar remains at the forefront of cutting edge innovation in community health

Thank you all.