Ambassador John Campbell’s Remarks at Commissioning of the Fistula Center, Clinic for Women at Maryam Abacha Women and Children Hospital
February 5, 2007, 1:30 p.m. | Sokoto
His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa (Garkuwan Sokoto);
His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Saadu Abubakar the third;
The Honorable Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Abubakar Zaki Amali Tambuwal;
Representatives of the Ministry of Health;
Representatives of the ACQUIRE/USAID Project;
Ladies and gentlemen of the press;
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen;
All protocols observed.
I am honored to be here today to celebrate the start of a new partnership between the American Government and the government of Sokoto State.
I am particularly pleased to mark formally the launch of the Access, Quality and Use in Reproductive Health Project, also known as the ACQUIRE Project, which aims to renew the hopes and dignity of thousands of women who suffer from obstetric fistula, a preventable and also repairable condition, as well as their families.
The American Government will provide six million dollars over a five year period to build capacity for the prevention and repair of obstetric fistula in Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Kano states.
This program will renovate and equip hospitals to perform the surgery, train surgeons and medical personnel, and teach skills for reintegrating healthy women into their families and communities.
ACQUIRE builds upon a successful partnership between the Sokoto State Government and the United Nations Population Fund, and it demonstrates Nigeria’s commitment to preserving the dignity of women consistent with the teachings of Islam.
This particular Women’s Center marks the beginning of the American contribution to the fight against obstetric fistula in Nigeria, and I hope that we will also build a lasting partnership between our governments and peoples to prevent and treat this debilitating condition.
As the African proverb says, “when spiders unite, they can tie up a lion.”
The United States Agency for International Development is proud to be working so closely with the State of Sokoto in so many of our development endeavors.
These include the Polio Eradication Program, which also works in 7 other northern states; a routine immunization project to protect against the major six childhood diseases; and a new education program that will focus on teacher training, literacy, promoting community support for primary education, and the improvement of educational infrastructure in both public and Islamiyyah schools.
I would like to acknowledge the support of the late Deputy Governor, Alhaji Garba Mohammed Silame and the late Commissioner of Education, Alhaji Sanusi Usman Junaidu, who were both instrumental in the initial design of this important project.
And of course the wonderful welcome and support we have received from His Eminence, Sultan Alhaji Muhammadu Saadu Abubakar.
I now want to take a moment to recognize the tragic loss of His Eminence, the late Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido and other dignitaries who passed away last October.
Your Excellency, please accept once again our deepest condolences on these tragic losses to your state.
Let me also reiterate that the American Government remains committed to expanding our existing partnership with the people of Sokoto State through educational exchange and other programs like this one.
And now, it gives me great pleasure officially to launch the USAID/ACQUIRE Clinic for the prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula.
We look forward to many more such occasions as we continue to work together to improve the lives and health of all Nigerians.