Ambassador Van Vranken’s Speech Visit to Scottish Livingstone Hospital

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

As prepared for delivery

  • Minister for State President and MP for Molepolole South, Hon. Kabo Morwaeng (Kah-bo Moo-rwah-eng)
  • Assistant Minister of Health, Hon. Sethomo Lelatisitswe (Se-toh-mo Leh-lah-ti-si-swe)
  • MP for Molepolole North, Hon. Oarabile Regoeng (O-ah-rah-bi-leh Reh-goh-weng)
  • Kgosi Kgari Sechele (Koh-si Kah-ri Seh-chair-Leh), Paramount Chief of Bakwena and Member of House of Chiefs
  • Council Chair, Kweneng East, Councillor Allen Jacobs
  • Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Grace Muzila
  • District Commissioner, Kweneng East, Berenice Mosime (Moh-seeme)
  • Health Development Partners
  • Government Officials
  • Scottish Livingstone Hospital Staff
  • Ladies and gentlemen
  • Thank you all. I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to visit this historically important facility. I understand you are marking your 90th anniversary this year.
  • You should be proud of your significant contribution to a healthy Botswana during this long period of existence, spanning almost a century.
  • I am also informed that this was among the first facilities to start Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) services in Botswana, 20 years ago. You have been at the center of cutting-edge innovations to continuously improve quality of service for the people living with HIV and AIDS who are under your care.
  • Congratulations for the recent accreditation of your laboratory by the Southern African Development Community Accreditation Services (SADCAS).
  • I am glad that this is the first health facility that I get a chance to visit since I arrived in the country. I look forward to learning more about the excellent work that you do.
  • The great progress made towards HIV epidemic control in Botswana is a reminder of the significance of government leadership, strategic
    partnerships, and commitment at all levels.
  • I particularly commend the Ministry of Health for your dedication to continuously expand services to reach the unreached.
  • The provision of HIV services to non-citizens is a great example that should be emulated by others. Your commitment to bridge these equity gaps is also reflected in the recent decision to expand Key Population services to public health facilities. I also know that you are making efforts to expand PrEP service points, as well as PrEP options. These are just a few examples.
  • With this level of commitment, it’s not surprising that Botswana has recently attained UNAID’s 95-95-95 goals. We should all be proud of the great progress that has been made in HIV control in less than 20 years.
  • As the country strives to scale newer heights, the U.S. government remains a proud partner in this journey. Through the various agencies [including
    CDC, USAID, Peace Corps] we will continue to support the GoB to end HIV as a public health threat in Botswana.
  • We want to ensure that USG investments are in tandem with GoB priorities of closing existing gaps while sustaining the HIV response.
  • In the next financial year, through PEPFAR, the USG has earmarked nearly $60m to support HIV prevention, care and treatment in Botswana. Out of
    this, approximately $18m will be earmarked to support care and treatment interventions in health facilities such as Scottish Livingstone Hospital.
  • The USG will continue to provide technical assistance through the mentorship program and work with MoH to strengthen health systems to tackle emerging challenges.
  • Thanks again for welcoming me to the facility and for the opportunity to learn about your work.