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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 26, 2007

Mrs. Bush's Remarks After Tour of Fann Hospital
Fann Hospital
Dakar, Senegal

photos  Photos

9:39 A.M. (Local)

MRS. BUSH: I thank everyone for coming to Fann Hospital today to see what I've gotten to see. First, I think it's often overlooked, that one essential thing in the treatment of AIDS, or HIV, is good nutrition. And the gardens that we've seen here at the Fann Hospital give patients who are HIV positive a chance to have good vegetables and protein in their diet, and so have a better chance to take anti-retrovirals and have the anti-retrovirals work.

Mrs. Laura Bush sits in on a roundtable discussion about malaria at Fann Hospital Tuesday, June 26, 2007, in Dakar, Senegal. Malaria is the single leading cause of death in Senegal. This year the United States is providing $16.7 million in assistance to combat the issue. The funding is part of the President's Malaria Initiative that increases malaria funding by more than 1.2 billion dollars over five years.  White House photo by Shealah Craighead And the gardens that are here are supported by USAID. Some of the seeds come from Seeds for Peace, a United States NGO. There are other groups that are non-governmental that are working here to make sure the gardens continue, and the patients, the outpatients have a chance to come work in these gardens. So not only do they help increase the production so that they and the patients in the hospital can have a lot of vegetables, but they also can sell the surplus. So that's a way that they can make money for themselves and to continue to sustain the gardens.

These gardens serve as a great role model, a great example for other hospitals or other communities across Africa to improve gardens as part of their treatment. They also give the people who come here and work in the gardens all the gardening techniques that they need so they can also grow vegetables at home -- and maybe even in a micro-finance sense be able to grow vegetables at home and sell those, as well.

And then I'm very proud that the people of the United States are standing with the people of Senegal in the work to eradicate malaria. Malaria is the single largest cause of death in Senegal. And it's very important for everyone across this country and across all of the countries that have a high rate of malaria to know how you get malaria, to try to avoid the mosquitoes that spread malaria both by using insecticide treated bed nets at night, which is when the mosquitoes bite the most often, and also by using indoor spraying to kill mosquitoes.

And like Mrs. Wade said, mosquitoes breed and multiply where standing water is. And I think we saw in the garden a great thing to do with those old tires -- make sure they don't have standing water in them, but instead, fill them with soil and grow vegetables.

I want to thank Mrs. Wade for joining me today here at Fann Hospital, and then later when we go on to Grand Medine Primary School. Thank you all for coming out to cover this important issue, and I hope that the media, especially the local media, will continue to talk about how people can avoid malaria. We just eradicated malaria in the United States about 1950. We know malaria can be eradicated. And so we stand with you as you try to eradicate malaria in Senegal.

Thank you, everybody. Thanks so much. (Applause.)

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