For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 27, 2007
Interview of Mrs. Bush by CBS News, Early Show
Q First Lady Laura Bush is on her third trip to Africa, on a mission to fight AIDS and Malaria, and also raise awareness of women's issue. She arrived in Senegal Monday night, then traveled to Mozambique. Later this week she'll visit Zambia and Mali. This morning she's in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. Mrs. Bush, good morning.
MRS. BUSH: Good morning, Julie.
Q I understand you just announced --
MRS. BUSH: How are you?
Q I'm well, thank you. But I understand you just announced new U.S. aid to fight malaria in Africa. Can you tell me more about this grant?
MRS. BUSH: That's right. It's a very exciting grant. This is part of the President's Malaria Initiative. And it's a program that targets the most -- the highest hit countries, the countries that have the most malaria. And of course most of them are in sub-Saharan Africa.
This grant today was a $2 million grant to inter-religious groups. It's a group of ministers, Catholic priests, imams, 10 different -- representing 10 different religious groups, Hindu, Baha'i -- and they have all come together here in Mozambique to reach into each one of the communities where they are, in the rural communities, to show people how to use insecticide-treated nets and how to do very safe indoor spraying so they can eradicate malaria in each one of their little villages. And it should reach almost 2 million people, which is great.
Q It is. It sounds wonderful. But also this morning you visited a pediatric hospital. How was that?
MRS. BUSH: I did. That was very sweet. It's a lovely program at the pediatric hospital here in the capital city of Mozambique. It's a program that works with mothers and their children. Both the mothers and the children, in the cases that I saw, are infected with AIDS.
They have what they call the Positive Tea time for mothers. This is a support group, because it's still -- there's still a lot of stigma, even though a very large percentage of the population, about 16 percent in Mozambique, are HIV-positive. But a lot of people don't get tested, because they don't want anyone to know that they might have AIDS. And this Positive Tea is a great way to bring mothers together. They're all HIV-positive. They have a chance to be together, to support each other, and they and their children are on anti-retrovirals. So actually they're in good health.
Q That's good to hear. Mrs. Bush, this is the second time that you've brought your daughter, Jenna, to Africa. Her first trip with you must have left quite an impression on her, to go back again, no?
MRS. BUSH: It did, really. Not only that, she worked last year for a year with UNICEF in Central and South America, also working with people who are HIV-positive in UNICEF programs that address that among children and young people. Plus, it's just fun for me to have my daughter on the trip with me. Barbara, as you know, spent a year in South Africa, working at a pediatric hospital. So in a lot of ways, she's the one that got Jenna and me interested.
Q I understand you're also trying to raise awareness to women's issues there. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I just had a luncheon with a group of women leaders here, Deputy Ministers of Health, the First Lady of Mozambique, and two of our own Peace Corps volunteers, United States Peace Corps Volunteers, and two girls that they brought -- that they have organized great girls groups, the Peace Corps has, among local girls, for girls to have the chance to talk to each other about how to protect themselves from AIDS and from other diseases -- things that they might be embarrassed to talk to their own mothers, or their mothers might be embarrassed to talk to them about, but in just a group with girls they'll have a chance to talk about it.
But we talked about how important education is for girls and women. If girls and women are educated, they're much less likely to get HIV; they're much more likely to know how to protect themselves. They have a chance to contribute to their society. And as one of these cute girls said, that came to the luncheon today that was brought by one of our Peace Corps members, she said, half of the society -- it's necessary for both halves of the society, for men and women to contribute. And she wants to be part of that women's group that contributes here in Mozambique.
Q Wow. And, finally, Mrs. Bush, will you continue these efforts once you and the President leave the White House?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I hope I have the chance to continue them, because they really are very, very inspiring, both here in Africa, when I've had the chance to visit, and in other places around the world. I've been to AIDS programs in Russia. I just went to an AIDS program in Bulgaria. And all of these are really very inspiring to me. It's also very gratifying to me to know how much the American people and their generosity help people around the world. And I get to see it on all of these trips.
Q First Lady Laura Bush, thank you.
MRS. BUSH: Thanks, Julie.