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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 10, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at a Swearing in Ceremony for Mark R. Dybul as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
The State Department
Washington, D.C.

photos  Photos

10:38 A.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much, Dr. Rice. Congratulations, Ambassador Dybul. As Global AIDS Coordinator, Mark will oversee the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, like Condi said, a five-year, $15 billion initiative that reflects our country's commitment to ending HIV/AIDS.

Mark has already made a huge difference as Acting, Deputy, and Assistant Global AIDS Coordinator. I've seen the results of his work as I've visited PEPFAR projects around the world -- from a program in Russia that helps HIV-positive children lead healthy lives, to South Africa's Mothers to Mothers-to-Be program, which helps HIV-positive pregnant women deliver babies free of HIV.

Newly sworn-in Ambassador Mark Dybul, Coordinator of the Office of the US Global AIDS, looks at Mrs. Laura Bush as she speaks to an audience of Ambassadors to the United States, government officials, representatives from the public health sector and Non-Governmental Organizations Tuesday, October 10, 2006, during the swearing-in ceremony of Ambassador Mark Dybul in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Ambassador Dybul will coordinate and oversee the U.S. global response to HIV/AIDS, and lead implementations of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Emergency Plan/PEPFAR), the largest commitment ever by any nation for an international health initiative dedicated to a single disease.  White House photo by Shealah Craighead Secretary Rice mentioned Mark's long career in health policy, and how he brings immense experience and expertise to his new position. Yet what distinguishes Dr. Dybul is his creativity. For PEPFAR to succeed, its resources must be used wisely. And from the initiative's very beginning, Mark's innovation has helped widen PEPFAR's reach. He's ensured that HIV prevention programs are integrated with treatment and orphan care. He works with other federal agencies to streamline our development efforts, combining AIDS relief with economic assistance, food aid, and the work of the President's Malaria Initiative.

PEPFAR works with partner governments and local relief programs to develop effective treatment and prevention. But the challenges presented by HIV and AIDS are too great for governments to address alone. Mark brings together people of all political persuasions, of many nations and backgrounds, from governments and the private sector, to address a challenge that faces all of us. He's committed to working with businesses, foundations and individual philanthropists who have a tremendous interest in aiding the developing world.

In fact, just this year, thanks to Mark's leadership, I've announced two PEPFAR-related public-private partnerships. In March, the federal government joined several pharmaceutical companies to help them improve access to pediatric AIDS medicines, and to develop HIV therapies that are safe for children. Last month, at the Clinton Global Initiative, I announced the PlayPumps alliance, an initiative that will use children's merry-go-rounds to pump clean drinking water for 10 million sub-Saharan Africans by 2010.

Mrs. Laura Bush, along with family of Ambassador Mark Dybul, watch as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice assists newly sworn-in Ambassador Mark Dybul as he signs appointment documents Tuesday, October 10, 2006, during the swearing-in ceremony of Ambassador Mark Dybul in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.  White House photo by Shealah Craighead Ambassador Dybul's leadership comes at a crucial time. Around the world, nearly 40 million people are infected with HIV or AIDS. But to Mark, those 40 million people are more than a statistic. In addition to his public health expertise, his leadership skills, and his creative policy work, Mark is first and foremost a physician. To Dr. Dybul, these 40 million people are individual patients, each deserving comfort, compassion and care, and a chance to lead healthy and happy lives.

Thank you, Mark, for bringing your compassion and care to your work as Global AIDS Coordinator. Thank you for being so helpful and accessible to the people you work with, including my staff. I know you'll bring great skill and enthusiasm to the fight against AIDS. Congratulations, Ambassador. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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