|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 27, 2007
Interview of Mrs. Bush by ABC News, Good Morning America
Q -- (in progress) -- President Bush, of course, has called to double funding for AIDS relief in the next five years, to $30 million. That's a move that even impressed his critics, and it can't come too soon: Last year alone, AIDS killed 2.1 million Africans, leaving 12 million orphans. African children are also the biggest victims of malaria, which kills a million people each year. I spoke to Mrs. Bush just minutes ago from Maputo, Mozambique:
Good morning, Mrs. Bush, and thank you for joining us this morning. So, you're in Africa, you're fighting two of the biggest killers on the continent. The numbers are staggering for AIDS and malaria. This is your third trip. What gives --
MRS. BUSH: And malaria.
Q Yes, and malaria. What gives you the hope that there can be a difference down there?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I really do think we can make a difference. We know we can eradicate malaria. It's happened in a lot of places in the world, including the United States; we used to have malaria. And malaria is the number one killer in both of the countries I've been to so far, Senegal and Mozambique, where I am now. But we know that Malaria -- because we know what causes it, and it's a mosquito and a mosquito bite. We know that if people protect themselves from bites by sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net and then use careful spraying of insecticides, that we really can eradicate it.
Will it be difficult? Sure, and especially in the very rural parts of Mozambique and these other countries in Africa where it's difficult to get there and difficult to do the education that's needed for people to know what to do to protect themselves.
Q One child every 30 seconds killed by malaria. Just such a tough statistic, even to hear.
MRS. BUSH: That's right.
Q The big solution that's being pushed right now is spraying an insecticide. DDT has such a bad name -- what do you tell people to make them confident that it's safe to use?
MRS. BUSH: Well, this will not be like DDT was used in the United States earlier, before it was banned there. This is a very safe and limited spraying, inside-only, against the walls of houses, to kill mosquitoes. It's not going to be used in a big agricultural way like it was in the United States. And we know -- it seems to be really the only insecticide that really can be used to eradicate these mosquitoes and malaria.
Q Especially when you know that --
MRS. BUSH: And one of the reasons --
Q Please, go ahead. I'm sorry, First Lady, go ahead.
MRS. BUSH: That's all right. One of the reasons that we were able to eradicate malaria in the United States was because of the use of DDT around 1949 were our last cases.
Q One of the problems with malaria, of course, is that the nets with insecticide can be effective, but you have to use them properly so the spraying is effective without depending on how people use it, it's done for them. Another thing that you're giving people down there to help fight AIDS is the care-giver kit -- the care-giver kit from World Vision -- and it has all of these different materials in it that can help people who are struggling. Tell me a little bit about it, because I have a kit in front of me.
MRS. BUSH: That's right. Tomorrow when I'm in Zambia, these kits, these care kits will be distributed by World Vision. World Vision has shipped them to Zambia and they'll help distribute them. People in the United States put these kits together, and I think people that want to know if there's a way they can help might be interested. These kits are just filled with supplies. They have things like flashlights and Vaseline to keep your skin protected, and latex gloves for sanitary reasons, and a lot of other things that people might need here and not ever be able to really buy for themselves.
Q Well, we know that this is your third trip. You're trying to help people with solutions to these two terrible problems, malaria and AIDS, and you're bringing your daughter, Jenna, who has a book coming out, trying to spread awareness; a family trip this time.
MRS. BUSH: It is a family trip. And I was just telling Jenna last night how happy I am to have her on this trip. It really makes the trip a lot more fun for me. She left part of the events that I was doing today and went to see a UNICEF project. She did volunteer for UNICEF in Central and South America and she's particularly interested in that. And her book that will come out this fall, the proceeds will go to UNICEF, which is, many people know, is the United Nations Children's Fund.
Q That's right. Mrs. Bush, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us from Africa. Good luck with the mission and be safe with your daughter. We'll see you when you get back. Thank you again.
MRS. BUSH: Thanks so much, Chris.