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Cablegate: Benin Gpra Report: Hiv/Aids and Infectious Diseases

VZCZCXRO2216
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHCO #0797 3570827
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220827Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY COTONOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0704
INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1376
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS COTONOU 000797

PARIS FOR ARS (DWINTON)
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/PD ANYASO, TITUS, LISENBY, AF/W FOR ACOOK

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIRC OIIP KDEM KPAO KISL PINR ML BN
SUBJECT: BENIN GPRA REPORT: HIV/AIDS AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES
NOVEMBER 3-21, 2008

REF: SECSTATE 100057

1. DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITY: Benin's participant in the HIV/AIDS and
Infectious Diseases Program, Dr. Rene Keke, Chief of the Department
of Sexually Transmitted Diseases at the Ministry of Health, returned
to Benin and debriefed the Acting Public Affairs Officer and the
Cultural Affairs Assistant about his visit. He was very satisfied
with the program and promised to share with his office colleagues,
the insights, knowledge and perceptions he gained during the program
in the U.S.

2. DATE OF ACTIVITY: November 3-21, 2008; first quarter,
FY 09.

3. PROGRAM JUSTIFICATION/OBJECTIVES: The program was a good
opportunity for Rene Keke to get a better understanding of the
global impact of infectious diseases and the pandemic of HIV/AIDS on
economic growth and development, political stability, social
cohesion, and national and regional security and to explore
education and prevention programs, research and development, and
treatment and care, with particular focus on innovative techniques
and strategies at the community and grassroots level.

4. MPP UMBRELLA THEMES AND AUDIENCE REACHED: This program meets
Post's objectives in Promoting Education, Basic Health, Human Rights
and Mutual Understanding.

5. ACTIVITIES/IMPACT/RESULTS: During the debriefing session, Rene
Keke said he was positively surprised by Americans' friendliness,
discipline and hard work. He said that he found Americans to be
outspoken, easy-going and generally keen on establishing contact
with people. One can easily approach Americans as well as visit
American institutions, he said, referring to the visit of the White
House. Rene Keke was impressed by the political system. He had the
opportunity to witness the strong mobilization of the voting
population on Election Day. He noticed that there are no federal
ministries in charge of culture, economy and development. He was
also struck by the health system which is very liberal and functions
on the basis of insurance. He expressed surprise at the fact that
about 50 million Americans are without health insurance. Dr. Keke
was impressed by the great involvement of the private sector, civil
society associations, NGOs and confessional organizations in the
fight against HIV/AIDS.

As an immediate result of his participation, Rene Keke organized a
lessons-learned workshop with his colleagues and other professionals
in charge of the malaria program and shared with them his U.S.
experience in the field of HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases. He has
already contacted research specialists in the field of malaria whom
he met during his trip. His participation in the HIV/AIDS program
allowed him to learn more about prevention strategies, and a
community based approach to activity programming. He was also
inspired by the way women in prison and high risk groups are taken
care of and educated about the pandemic, and how in turn they
educate their peers.

6. Dr. Keke found the program to be well organized and tightly
focused. Nonetheless he wished there could have been more time
allotted to asking questions related to the participants' field of
interest. He also suggested that the participants take more time for
individual visits in each city.

7. NON-USG SOURCES OF IN-COUNTRY FUNDING/IN KIND SUPPORT: None

8. QUALITY OF USG SUPPORT: Excellent. The participant was very
impressed by the quality and professionalism of the speakers, ELOs
and programs.

BROWN

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