Recognizing World AIDS Day
DID YOU KNOW? Under the Bush administration, more than 2 million people infected with HIV — most of them in Africa — have received lifesaving anti-retroviral treatment as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.
The United States increased direct development and humanitarian aid to Africa to more than $4 billion a year from $1.4 billion in 2001, according to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. And four African nations — Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt and Uganda — rank among the world’s top 10 recipients in aid from the United States.
The nation launched a $1.2 billion malaria initiative in June 2005 with the goal of reducing malaria-related deaths in 15 African countries by 50 percent. The disease kills more than 1 million people a year, most of them African children under age 5.
The malaria program complements the president’s largest global health initiative, the $15 billion, five-year plan known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Under the program, about 800,000 Africans are receiving drugs that enable them to live longer with the disease and help to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus.
In July 2008 Bush signed legislation re-authorizing the program and authorizing up to $48 billion to expand it.
“I salute President Bush for his leadership in crafting a plan for AIDS relief in Africa and backing it up with funding dedicated to saving lives and preventing the spread of the disease,” Obama said in taped remarks
Obama’s compliment was one in a series of paeans offered in 2008 as he prepared to leave office in 2008 via videotape by world leaders.
“President Bush’s efforts have saved literally millions of lives,” said former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
President Paul Kagame said Rwanda was much better off because of Bush’s dedication to improving global health, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Bush on “his legacy of leadership.”
“The president’s emergency plan for AIDS relief has made it possible for people in countries hardest hit by the disease to receive treatment,” the U.N. chief said.