USAID/SA Deputy Mission Director, Rebecca Krzywda delivers remarks at GCBS event

Friday, August 3, 2018
Subject 
Department of Social Development and Government Capacity Building and Support Project (GCBS) Learning Event
GCBS learning event
USAID/SA Deputy Mission Director, Rebecca Krzywda
USAID/Southern Africa

 

Acting DG Toni, Representatives of the Department of Social Services, and all workshop organizers and participants, good morning. It is a pleasure to join you for in opening this event. It is another milestone in the U. S. Agency for International Development’ partnership with the government of South Africa and its Department for Social Development in pursuit of the millennial goals for curbing HIVAIDS.

With support from PEPFAR, we Americans and South Africans are investing in efforts to strengthen systems of care and support, including social services, to improve the lives of the children of this country.

This year, PEPFAR celebrates 15 years of determined interventions to prevent, treat and end HIV and AIDS. We are proud of what we have achieved in collaboration with host country governments and NGOs. Those achievements include programs to strengthen health systems and treat and care for children and youth, especially those whose lives have been altered by HIV/AIDS.

OVC programs are central to PEPFAR initiatives. One such initiative enabled more than half-a-million children to receive life-saving antiretroviral treatment across nine sub-Saharan countries. And I’m sure you have heard of the DREAMS partnership, which targets improved health, education and safety for adolescent girls.

Statistics South Africa estimates that in this country, nearly two-thirds of children live in the poorest 40 percent of households. Many children don’t live with a biological mother or father. This is not good news in terms of their health and safety.

According to PEPFAR, the total number of orphans in South Africa increased by 28 percent between 2002 and 2010. HOWEVER… in recent years, the rate of increase has slowed. By 2015, orphan numbers had declined almost to 2002 numbers. Why? Mainly because of improved access to anti-retrovirals. Your work is making a difference! USAID is proud to have been part of this journey with South Africans.

We and the South African government started the Government Capacity Building and Support Project in 2013 with the aim of strengthening the Department of Social Services systems at the national, provincial and district level. We had a clear goal— improving direct service delivery to orphans, children, and youth who are vulnerable to HIV, sexually transmitted infections and Tuberculosis.

We have worked together to enable a competent and skilled social service workforce that is child- and youth-centred, well-coordinated and working in unison to support the goals and objectives of South Africa’s National Strategic Plan and HIV response efforts.

We also have collaborated to improve treatment, care and adherence as well as child protection services, prevent and reduce new infections through social behaviour change communication programs, and strengthen community-based health and social services systems. USAID is proud to have been part of this journey with South Africans.

During this workshop, we will share evidence of what we have accomplished together. It is nice that we are having this event after a month of celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s centenary. He had a passion for children and young people. We’ll always remember his words… “Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation” and “The true character of society is revealed by how it treats its children.”

As a parent, and I’m sure many of you are as well. We can only imagine what would happen if we vanished from our children’s lives and left them alone in the world. It is a horrible thing to contemplate. That is why we are determined to pursue every avenue for protecting the children of South Africa.

So we are very grateful to be partners with you and your Department of Social Development, and we thank you for your leadership and determined commitment to our mutual campaign to ensure a bright, healthy future for the next generation.

Thank very much.

 

Ke ya leboha

Thank you

Southern Sun Cnr. Steve Biko and Pretorius St., Arcadia, Pretoria

Last updated: August 06, 2018

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