Ambassador Palmer at Global Fund Grant Agreement Signing, October 21, 2015

Your Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi

Honorable Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Honorable Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development

Honorable Dr. Peter Kumpalume, Minister of Health

Diplomatic colleagues

All Protocols Observed

On Behalf of the United States Government and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR as we call it, I want to congratulate the Government of Malawi on the signing of this historic Grant Agreement.

This represents a giant leap forward in Malawi’s fight against Malaria, TIB and HIV and will be instrumental in achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals.

I’m humbled to share the stage with Your Excellency and Dr. Dybul and only dare to do so because I think it is emblematic of the fact that in Malawi, PEPFAR, the Global Fund and the Government of Malawi have a real, no kidding, partnership to implement the Government of Malawi’s National Strategic Plan to Combat HIV and TB.  We’re mafuwa — the proverbial three stones under the cook pot.

In Malaria, too, the Global Fund grant works in tandem with the $44 million from the President’s Malaria Initiative that the United States will invest over the period of the Global Fund grant to drive down malaria transmission and reduce the burden of illness and deaths through strengthened diagnosis and treatment in facilities throughout the country. And we’re all working closely to ensure that bed nets catch mosquitos not usipe and the drugs which we provide are dispensed without charge to properly diagnosed patients and not sold illegally in markets behind clinics. Tiyeni tisamale mankhwalawa ngati chimvano cha mavu choning`a pa mimba”

Dr. Dybul, I know you don’t routinely attend every Global Fund grant signing so appreciate that your making the long trip is a testament to Malawi’s leadership in selecting cutting edge approaches in the HIV response.  Our Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah Birx talks passionately about the impact that Malawi’s implementation of Option B+ had on worldwide standards for preventing mother to child transmission of HIV.  Malawi is one of the first countries to formally integrate the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals as part of its National Strategic Plan.  And early next year, Malawi will once again lead the world in implementing Test and Start early next year.  This is an ambitious undertaking that His Excellency President announced in New York and has been recognized by representatives from Key Populations  and People Living with HIV here in Malawi and around the world as a courageous, life-saving step.

The grant signed today will drastically reduce the number of new HIV infections and help bring about an AIDS free generation here in the Warm Heart of Africa.

Complementing these efforts, this year the US government is investing $95 million to implement comprehensive HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment, Prevention, and Health Systems Strengthening Interventions across the country.

Realizing that Malawi’s youth are her future,  we also are committing $14 million to implement an ambitious program called DREAMS which will reduce HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women and an additional $27 to significantly increase the number of children on HIV treatment.

And, it is my pleasure to announce today that PEPFAR has just approved an additional $6.8 million this year for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision, a key prevention program.   

Before I close, I’d like to thank the members of the Country Coordinating Mechanism and the grant writing teams under the skillful chairmanship of Secretary of the Treasury Ronald Mangani.  You’ve worked til midnight and through weekends for months to finalize the Concept Note and it’s impossible to overstate the importance of your continued leadership as you address remaining HRH and implementation challenges to make these programs a reality.

Again, congratulations to you, Mr. President, the Government of Malawi, the Global Fund, development partners, and civil society partners who made this day possible.