News / USA

Africa AIDS Conference Opens in Ethiopia

President Bush listens to an HIV positive mother explain how she has learned to keep her baby HIV free.
President Bush listens to an HIV positive mother explain how she has learned to keep her baby HIV free.

An international conference on AIDS in Africa opens in Addis Ababa with an address by former U.S. president George W. Bush.  He is being honored for his role in creating PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, the largest ever health initiative dedicated to fighting a disease.

Former president Bush received a hero's welcome Sunday during a brief stopover in Ethiopia.  Amnesty International may be calling for his arrest, but in Ethiopia and many other AIDS afflicted developing countries, Mr. Bush is remembered for PEPFAR, which has pumped $39 billion into bilateral programs to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Bush, his wife Laura Bush and daughters Jenna and Barbara visited St Paul's Hospital and Medical College in Addis Ababa, where mothers living with HIV told how PEPFAR-funded programs had helped them deliver healthy babies.

A woman, who gave her name as Belatech, said she was pregnant and already taking antiretroviral drugs when she came to St. Paul's. The baby she delivered is HIV-free.

Belatech says she is so grateful that she now works with other HIV-infected women to ensure that their children are born healthy.

Bush is credited with the initiative that created PEPFAR.  Ethiopia is one of its biggest beneficiaries, having received $1.4 billion. The program currently funds anti-AIDS, TB and malaria programs in all of Ethiopia's 140 hospitals.

The former president told VOA he and his family are visiting PEPFAR facilities so American taxpayers will know how their taxpayer dollars are being spent.

"The way I look at it,  it's one of the great acts of compassion by the American people.  It is important for the American people to understand that their generosity saves a lot of lives," Bush said. "It's also important for the American people to know that if we do not support people who have HIV/AIDS or who are dying because of mosquito bites, more and more people will die."

The former president said it is important that the United States remains committed to effective health programs in the developing world.

"It is essential our country not retreat from the world.  It is essential that we continue to show our compassion by funding programs that work.  PEPFAR works, the malaria program works," Bush stated.

PEPFAR currently funds antiretroviral treatment for nearly a quarter of the estimated 1.1-million Ethiopians living with HIV.  It also pays for training of 4,500 medical professionals.

Ethiopia's Health Minister Tewodros Adhanom says the program is still growing. "It is still under construction, we're seeing some really positive results, so we need to finalize based on the design we had started.  But so far we are getting already encouraging results, HIV is declining, malaria declining significantly, and under five mortality is down, so there are really encouraging results," Adhanom explained.

Former President Bush was in Ethiopia for the opening of ICASA, the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa.  The five-day conference has drawn more than 5,000 experts and activists from around the world for an exchange of ideas and best practices in the fight against AIDS.

You May Like

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid