Mrs. Laura Bush addresses her remarks at the first-ever White House Summit on Malaria, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006, at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. The President's Malaria Initiative, a five-year $1.2 billion program to eradicate malaria in 15 countries, announced at the summit that it will launch a further $30 million Malaria Communities Program to build independent, sustainable malaria-control projects in Africa. White House photo by Shealah Craighead.
Mrs. Bush Champions Initiatives That Are Saving Lives
And Spreading Hope
Fighting Global HIV/AIDS
Mrs. Bush has focused domestic and international attention on the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). President Bush announced PEPFAR in 2003 as a five-year, $15 billion initiative - then the largest international health initiative in history to fight a single disease. In July 2008, the President signed bipartisan legislation to reauthorize PEPFAR for up to $48 billion for five additional years and to expand its programs to continue to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. From 2003-2008, this effort helped bring life-saving treatment to 2.1 million people and supported care for more than 10 million people around the world.
- In visits to 12 of the 15 PEPFAR countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, Mrs. Bush has seen first-hand the success of this historic commitment to the fight against global HIV/AIDS.
Mrs. Bush emphasizes the link between improved education and disease prevention in nations around the world. Investments in education and literacy help ensure people can understand the label on a food container or follow instructions on a bottle of medicine. Citizens who can read are also more likely to know how diseases like HIV and malaria are transmitted; as a result, they can make informed decisions that will keep them and their families safe.
- Programs such as mothers2mothers in South Africa demonstrate the power of education to save lives and build healthy families. Mrs. Bush visited the organization's Capetown center in 2005 and hosted "Mentor-Mothers" at the White House during their visit to the United States in 2006. At mothers2mothers centers, HIV-infected women receive information and support to keep their unborn children from contracting the disease. They also train to serve as mentors to other mothers in an effort to educate all South African women on the prevention of HIV.
Mrs. Bush's advocacy in the United States and abroad has helped mobilize public and private efforts to defeat malaria. A largely preventable disease, in Africa, malaria kills 3,000 children every day and claims 1.2 million lives a year.
- Mrs. Bush has visited 10 of the 15 countries aided by the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) during five trips to Africa. Announced by President Bush in June 2005, PMI is a five-year, $1.2 billion program, which challenges the private sector to join the U.S. government in combating malaria in 15 of the hardest-hit African countries. PMI was reauthorized with an additional $5 billion in 2008.
- In December 2006, President and Mrs. Bush hosted the White House Summit on Malaria to help educate the public about this preventable disease, highlight existing public-private partnership efforts, and send a message globally about the need for more governments, NGOs, and corporations to come together to control malaria. Major multilateral institutions in the forefront of the effort to control malaria joined with the Administration, including UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and others. Mrs. Bush urged all citizens to join efforts to defeat malaria by providing malaria nets to save lives.
- In June 2007, Mrs. Bush visited Mozambique and announced a three-year, nearly $2 million grant to benefit the Inter-Religious Campaign against Malaria in Mozambique. Through PMI, this grant helps the inter-faith group implement the first stage of its "Together Against Malaria" program. By providing health education, training, and community mobilization through trained faith leaders, this program reaches over 1.6 million people. In the Mozambique village of Mozal, Mrs. Bush participated in a home spraying demonstration and distributed bed nets to families, highlighting the threat mosquitoes pose to villagers.
- In August 2008, PMI, through Mrs. Bush and its partnership with "Nothing But Nets" and the United Nations Foundation, provided 10,000 malaria nets to a medical clinic and a refugee camp along the Thailand-Burma border. Malaria is prevalent among communities of Burmese refugees and migrants.
Fighting Breast Cancer
On the evening of October 7, 2008, Mrs. Bush lit the White House pink in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The event recognized the courage of breast cancer survivors, the struggle of those with the disease, and the support of family members and friends. U.S. Embassies around the world were invited to join with the White House to reaffirm their commitment to the global fight against breast cancer. Many countries joined the United States and responded by hosting events, displaying pink ribbons, or illuminating famous landmarks pink in support of the cause.
During visits to countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas, Mrs. Bush has encouraged women to take charge of their health and has emphasized the importance of breast cancer screenings and early detection.
The United States launched partnerships with countries in the Middle East and the Americas to raise breast cancer awareness and to support research for a cure. International partnerships between the U.S. Department of State, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and partnering countries are working to increase early detection and reduce mortality through improved awareness, increased clinical resources, and world-class research.
- U.S. - Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research. Announced by Mrs. Bush in June 2006, this public-private partnership has united experts from the U.S. with governments, hospitals, researchers, survivors, and advocates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Jordan in the fight against breast cancer. In October 2007, Mrs. Bush traveled to the region to bring awareness about the stigma surrounding the topic of breast cancer by promoting ongoing activities of the initial Partner countries, Jordan and the UAE, and by helping to bring the Partnership to Saudi Arabia. She also announced the 2008 expansion of the Partnership to Egypt, Morocco, and the Palestinian Territories.
Mrs. Bush returned to the Middle East to witness the progress of the Partnership at King Fahd Medical City in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in May 2008. She then traveled to Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt to deliver remarks highlighting the efforts to increase breast cancer awareness and research in Egypt and the Palestinian Territories.
- In the first months following the launch of the Partnership in Saudi Arabia, the number of women receiving breast cancer screenings at the Abdullatif Cancer Screening Center increased almost fivefold, from an average of six patients a day to more than 25.
- Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas. At the White House Conference on the Americas in July 2007, Mrs. Bush announced this effort to unite experts from the U.S., Brazil, Costa Rica, and Mexico to increase the early detection of and to reduce mortality from breast cancer in Latin America and the Caribbean.
For more information, please visit www.pepfar.gov and www.fightingmalaria.gov and www.bcpartnership.org.