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Laura Bush in Mozambique to Address AIDS, Malaria

United States first lady Laura Bush is in Mozambique on the second leg of a four-nation African tour aimed at highlighting U.S. assistance to countries to fight HIV/AIDS and malaria. VOA's Delia Robertson has more from our southern Africa bureau in Johannesburg.

The focus of Mrs. Bush's visit to Mozambique are U.S. funded initiatives to combat malaria and AIDS. One such initiative is at Beluluane near Maputo where Mozambique officials are beginning a malaria eradication program, which includes spraying the walls of homes with the chemical DDT.

In Mozambique, 150 people die each day from malaria and authorities are pinning their hopes on such programs to greatly reduce these deaths.

Speaking at a meeting with Mozambique President Armando Guebuza in Maputo, Mrs. Bush noted that in communities with eradication programs, the health of newborn babies is better, there are fewer miscarriages and children are much healthier.

Another program provides life-saving drugs to children with AIDS is sponsored by PEPFAR (the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief).

Mrs. Bush announced a $507 million injection of funds through the Millennium Challenge Corporation to help Mozambique eradicate mosquito breeding sites, build water wells, upgrade roads and improve agriculture.

Next Mrs. Bush visits neighboring Zambia where she will help launch the first Play Pump in the country. Play Pumps, installed near schools, double as a water pump and a merry-go-round for children. As children play, they power the water pumps, which provide clean water for the community.

Mrs. Bush also plans to visit a center that cares for AIDS patients and a microcredit program funded by PEPFAR that functions as a transit home and rehabilitation center for orphans and other vulnerable children.

From Zambia Mrs. Bush travels to Mali.