Video: Fox News
Former US President, George W. Bush has applauded Botswana for being a leader in helping its people deal with HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer. Mr Bush said this on Monday during his two-day visit to Botswana with his wife, Ms Laura Bush.
Former U.S. President George W. Bush touted his signature aid project for Africa during a visit to Botswana on Tuesday, saying he hoped Washington would recognise its importance in saving lives threatened by AIDS.
Launched in 2003 during the first Bush administration, PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, is the world’s largest provider of AIDS-fighting medicine and has branched out over the years to include the provision of services for cervical cancer, which is linked to HIV infections in women.
U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed steep cuts in the budget for diplomacy and foreign aid but his administration has so far said it will ‘maintain current commitments and all current patient levels on HIV/AIDS treatment’ under PEPFAR.
Image source: The Bush Centre (YouTube)
Mr and Ms Bush paid a courtesy visit to President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama at the State House and visited the Tlokweng Clinic and Therisano Primary School. Mr Bush said the progress made by Botswana in combating HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer was commendable. He also acknowledged the critical role that US foreign aid has played in delivering HIV/AIDS treatment to nearly 12 million people.
He thanked the government for its resolve and expressed hope that when his government analysed what worked around the world,
“…they will understand that the President’s Emergency Programme For AIDS Relief has saved over 11 million lives. While progress is being made, we’ve got to continue to stay in this battle in order to save lives. Every human life matters and I hope that the people of America understand that through their generosity, millions now live,” he said.
While at Tlokweng Clinic, which provides screening and treatment services for cervical cancer, the Bushes were shown the new technologies used for fighting cervical cancer in Botswana.
Through their Bush Institute-affiliated Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon®, the couple helps in the fight against women’s cancers. Their Bush Institute’s First Ladies Initiative helps to engage and support first ladies from around the world to effectively use their unique platforms to advance women and girls’ issues.
The Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, launched in 2011 by the Bush Institute, the President’s Emergency Programme For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), UNAIDS and Susan G. Komen, along with other private and public partners builds upon the HIV/AIDS platform to combat cervical and breast cancer in the developing world.
Since its inception, the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon has worked with the government from 2012, and through the ongoing partnership, more than 22 000 women have been screened for cervical cancer, and more than 70 000 girls have been vaccinated against HPV in Botswana.
According to the United Nations, Bush said cervical cancer was now the leading cause of death among women in Botswana, a sparsely populated southern African nation.
The Obama administration maintained PEPFAR and the program enjoys bipartisan support – a rarity in Washington’s polarised atmosphere.