President Bush To Visit Five African Nations, Focus on HIV/AIDS, Economic Development
President Bush is scheduled to visit five African nations -- Senegal, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda and Nigeria -- from July 7 to July 12 to promote economic development and the fight against HIV/AIDS, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said on Friday, Agence France-Presse reports (Doublet, Agence France-Presse, 6/21). "This visit highlights the Bush administration's commitment to working toward a free, prosperous and peaceful Africa," Fleischer said. The trip was originally scheduled for January but was canceled because of the anticipated war in Iraq, the AP/Yahoo! News reports (Loven, AP/Yahoo! News, 6/20). During the trip next month, Bush is expected to promote several initiatives that focus on Africa, including the president's five-year, $15 billion AIDS initiative (HR 1298), which he signed into law last month, and the Millennium Challenge Account, which calls for increasing aid to developing countries in exchange for a range of political and economic reforms, according to Agence France-Presse (Agence France-Presse, 6/21). The global AIDS initiative, which still needs congressional approval for the funds it authorizes, seeks to prevent seven million new HIV infections, care for 10 million people living with the disease and provide treatment to two million HIV-positive people (AP/Yahoo! News, 6/20). According to Agence France-Presse, Bush is scheduled to "have a first-hand encounter" with HIV/AIDS in Botswana and meet with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and South African President Thabo Mbeki (Agence France-Presse, 6/21). In a meeting with Museveni earlier this month, Bush praised him for his efforts in the fight against AIDS and cited Uganda's AIDS program as a model for his global AIDS initiative (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/11).
U.S., Brazil Joint Initiative
Also on Friday, Bush met with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and agreed to a joint initiative to fight HIV/AIDS in Portuguese-speaking African countries, Agence France-Presse reports. The initiative is based on Brazil's own experience in fighting the disease, especially among the country's poorest residents, according to Agence France-Presse (Agence France-Presse, 6/20). Brazil's HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention strategies have been so effective that they have become a model for developing countries dealing with the epidemic. During the past three years, 31 countries have adopted Brazil's prevention and treatment guidelines. Dr. Jong-Wook Lee, director general of the World Health Organization, appointed Paulo Teixeira, head of Brazil's HIV/AIDS program, to help formulate WHO's AIDS strategy (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/10). The program, which will initially include Mozambique and will later move into Angola, will work to improve laboratory capabilities; train health care workers; implement rapid HIV testing in prenatal care services; support antiretroviral treatment programs; improve disease surveillance; and increase local research capabilities (White House Fact Sheet, 6/20).
A kaisernetwork.org interview with Teixeira is available online.
More information on HIV/AIDS in Brazil is available online as part of kaisernetwork.org's Issue Spotlight on HIV/AIDS.