February 7, 2024

Congressional Black Caucus Recognized for Legacy of Global Health Security by USGLC and the African Diplomatic Corps

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, February 6, as part of Black History Month, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) and the African Diplomatic Corps recognized the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for its enduring legacy of strengthening global health programs and contributing to America’s global leadership. Along with six Members of Congress, 40 African countries sent their highest representation for an evening dedicated to recognizing the CBC’s leadership in life changing programs such as the creation of PEPFAR — a transformative, foreign policy success story that has saved over 25 million lives on the African continent.

The celebration featured remarks by Ambassador Serge Mombouli, Ambassador of the Republic of the Congo to the United States and Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador John Nkengasong, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Representative Steven Horsford (NV-4), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as from representatives from Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck. Liz Schrayer, USGLC President and CEO, moderated a conversation between Representative Barbara Lee (CA-12), Representative Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), and Representative Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37) on the CBC’s legacy and continued work to advance global health security in Africa and around the world.

“As we celebrate Black History Month, we are honored to partner with the African Diplomatic Corps to shine a spotlight on the historic legacy of the Congressional Black Caucus when it comes to strengthening global health security, particularly in Africa,” said Liz Schrayer, USGLC President and CEO. “Programs like PEPFAR or the Global Fund literally would not exist without CBC championing these bipartisan live-saving programs, demonstrating what we can accomplish when we work together. It is a wonderful opportunity to share this story and celebrate continued generations of champions.”

“In large part thanks to PEPFAR, we have seen significant advances in diagnosing, treating, preventing, and responding to the [HIV/AIDS] epidemic over the past decades,” said Representative Horsford. “And truly, this is one of the best examples of public health investment and economic advancement, because when you improve the life chances of people’s health outcomes, you improve their economic outcomes.”

“You can look at what we fought for in terms of vaccines – CBC led that on COVID – which ultimately ended up developing because of the PEPFAR infrastructure that was there. When you look at Ebola, when you look at all of the diseases, this is a matter of life and death. It’s a matter of barely surviving and thriving. It’s something that the CBC feels within our heart,” said Representative Lee. “Anything we can do, starting with helping people live healthy lives, that’s basic. And so it’s a holistic approach. It’s a comprehensive understanding of global health.”

“Since its founding, the Congressional Black Caucus has helped chart an improved course for U.S.-Africa relations, while remaining outspoken about the need to confront global health challenges head-on,” said Representative Cherfilus-McCormick. “As a proud member of the House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee and the CBC — at a time when we are facing numerous global challenges in which the continent of Africa is of strategic importance — I know how essential it is for the Caucus to build on this legacy into the 118th Congress and beyond.”

“Africa is booming. Countries throughout Africa are some of the fastest growing, the populations are about 70% 19 years and under…And folks are yearning for a different kind of engagement from the United States” said Representative Kamlager-Dove. “Companies are not going to want to come if the employee base is not well or is not healthy, or if the clients or the patients or the audience is not well or healthy and able to interact with them. So there’s an economic responsibility for us to be working to ensure that global health is sustainable.”

“Africa has received approximately 81% of funds from PEPFAR, including the Global Fund, over the past 21 years. That is a big impact. 25 million lives saved, 5.5 million babies born HIV free, and 20 million individuals given lifesaving medicine, preventing virus transmission. PEPFAR’s impact extends beyond saving lives, stabilizing communities, increasing GDP per capita and providing care for 7,000,00 AIDS orphans,” said Ambassador Mombouli. “Together we have built 70,000 clinics, 3,000 laboratories and trained 340,000 healthcare workers. This resilient health system [has worked] not only for AIDS, but [for] COVID-19, Ebola, H1N1, tuberculosis, and monkeypox.”

“Bipartisan cooperation and partnership have made PEPFAR possible and the biggest champions of that essential solidarity are members of the CBC. CBC members have demonstrated their ability to work across the aisle and to galvanize support for the global fight against HIV/AIDS, through four presidents and 10 Congresses, no matter who is in charge from the highest office in the nation, for a response to HIV/AIDS pandemic that not only changed the course of the pandemic, but the PEPFAR platform has been leveraged by our partner countries that are here to fight other outbreaks or disease threats, including Ebola, monkeypox, H1N1, and recently a COVID 19 pandemic,” said Ambassador Nkengasong.


The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 500 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, military, and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.