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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of African Affairs > Releases > Remarks > 2006: African Affairs Remarks

Frazer Visits Hospital Built by Congolese NBA Star

Jendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary
Remarks to the Dikembe Mutombo Hospital
Kinshasa, Republic of Congo
April 2, 2006

Good afternoon, and thank you for your warm welcome. Your Excellency Minister of Health, Emile Bongali, it is exciting to be here in Kinshasa, where Dikembe Mutombo grew up.

Mr. Mutombo has earned an impressive reputation for himself in the United States, so when he told me that his Foundation was building a hospital in his hometown of Kinshasa, I decided I should visit. Who wouldn't be curious to see where such a man grew up?

President Bush often remarks that “ America is a compassionate and generous land.” The statistics prove it. For every one-dollar of official foreign assistance from the U.S. government, individual Americans donate three to four dollars of their own earnings, through non-governmental organizations, charities, and foundations, like Dikembe Mutombo's.

This modern hospital is a lasting example of that giving spirit. This hospital is a private endeavor that will serve families for many years to come.  I commend Dikembe Mutombo and his family. They are sharing the rewards of their hard work in America with fellow Congolese here in the Masina neighborhood of Kinshasa . This is ‘giving back to the community' at its best. The health-related needs of the people of Kinshasa are great, and this hospital, once completed, will help meet them.

Since 2001, President Bush has been working hard to increase attention to public health issues in Africa . He spearheaded an initiative to eliminate malaria, and he called for the creation of the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, as well as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief that is working to stem the spread of HIV and AIDS, while also treating those who are already infected. This initiative that we call PEPFAR was the first to provide Anti-Retroviral (ARV) Treatment on a wide scale in 14 African focus countries.

More than a quarter of all official bilateral U.S. government assistance to the Congolese people, more than $30 million, is directly aimed at preventing illness and building health care capacity in this country.

The U.S. Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is actively involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The U.S. also works with Congolese leaders through bilateral programs. The U.S. Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense contribute nearly $10 million annually to support HIV/AIDS-related health initiatives in the DRC.

The American people are watching, and they are noting your accomplishments. In 2005, the popular American weekly newsmagazine, Time, named the Congolese doctor, Leon Kintaudi, a global health leader. Dr. Kintaudi [kin-TAWD-ee] was recognized for his work in primary health care. He works on a USAID health project called SANRU that provides critical health services in more than 50 health zones across the DRC.

While Dr. Kintaudi may have always been a hero to each of his patients, his service to others is something many others are now celebrating. Today we honor another Congolese-born hero, Dikembe Mutombo, who knows the meaning of community, and offers help to any neighbor in need. May the mothers of Kinshasa raise many more Dikembe Mutombos!

Thank you; it has been an honor to join you this afternoon.

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