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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More