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Ambassador's speeches

Remarks Delivered at the Inauguration Ceremony for Sanitary Improvements at Centre de Santé Tshimungu

By: Ambassador James F. Entwistle | February 9, 2012, Kimbanseke District, Kinshasa
Ambassador Entwistle visits the newly renovated Centre de Santé Tshimungu. (State Dept. Images)

Ambassador Entwistle visits the newly renovated Centre de Santé Tshimungu. (State Dept. Images)

[As prepared for delivery]

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished Guests,

It is a pleasure to visit Kimbanseke and the Centre de Sante Tshimungu.  I would like to share a little about the Special Self Help Program which funded the work we are inaugurating today.

The Special Self Help Program was designed to permit Ambassadors to fund projects that aim to have an immediate impact on the people of the requesting community.  The Embassy receives many requests, but funds are limited.  So we give priority to projects which are community-based and meet the following requirements:

  • Improve basic economic or social conditions of the people at the local community level;
  • Support high-impact, quick-implementation activities which benefit a large number of people within one year without requiring further Special Self-Help assistance;
  • Involve a significant local contribution in cash, labor, or material; and
  • Are in direct response to the initiative and aspirations of the local community.

After receiving a request from Centre de Sante Tshimungu and visiting the clinic, we were impressed with the possibilities the clinic presented.   The pleasant staff greeted us warmly, and showed us a functional medical facility caring for many sick people.  The Clinic had many key ingredients for a good maternity and health center and it was supplying important basic health needs for the community.  But, a few very important sanitary elements were missing.  For example, there were no showers; the only toilet was in disrepair; the septic system was beyond repair; and the maternity part of the Clinic was using a metal barrel as an incinerator. 

Our hearts were touched by the dedicated staff, who had put many of the pieces in place to provide needed care, but who lacked finances to resolve some of the basic sanitary needs of the Clinic.  In their eyes, we saw hope despite the infrastructure challenges and overwhelming needs.  And so we decided that we could provide that needed financial help to provide safer health care for mothers, babies and families of the community of Kimbanseke.   

Earlier this year, I signed the contract with leaders of the clinic and now I am thrilled to be here today and see the immense progress.  The hard work and pride you take in providing for the medical needs of your community are evident in this new construction.  I congratulate you for your commitment to a brighter future for the next generation, and I am honored that the American people and Embassy Kinshasa have been able to contribute to your efforts. 

I encourage you to protect your hard work by ensuring that this maternity/ health facility is maintained and the possibilities it represents continue to improve.  Again, congratulations and thank you.