Thursday, December 14, 2006
Bush adds 8 countries to anti-malaria campaignWASHINGTON (AP) -- Declaring that malaria can be defeated, President Bush on Thursday added eight countries to a U.S. initiative aimed at combatting the disease in Africa and slashing its mortality rate by half in targeted nations.
"Last year, about a million Africans died of malaria," Bush said. "The vast majority were children under five. Their lives ended by nothing more than a mosquito bite."
The new countries were announced at a White House summit on malaria, intended to raise awareness of the mosquito-borne disease and to mobilize a grass-roots effort among voluntary, faith-based and nonprofit organizations to save millions of lives. The additional countries are Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali and Zambia.
"By bringing together such a wide variety of people, the summit is sending a clear message that we are determined to defeat malaria," the president said.
"In this new century, there is a great divide between those who place no value on human life and rejoice in the suffering of others, and those who believe that every life has matchless value and answer suffering with compassion and kindness," he said. "The contrast is vivid, and the position of America is clear: We will lead the case of freedom, justice and hope, because both our value and our interests demand it."
Just before the summit, Bush told the president of Benin that the United States will commit resources, time and talent to help rid much of Africa of malaria, but added that Benin's government must help by educating its citizens on prevention.
"We cannot succeed, however, unless there is an administration that is willing and capable to do the hard work necessary to educate people and spread nets and insecticides necessary to deal with a disease that can be defeated," Bush said.
The program, known as the President's Malaria Initiative, is a five-year, $1.2 billion effort that challenges the private sector to join the U.S. government in combating malaria in 15 of the hardest-hit African nations.
Angola, Tanzania and Uganda were the first three countries in the program, followed by Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Senegal.
At least one million infants and children under five in sub-Saharan Africa die each year from malaria.
First lady Laura Bush also urged American school children to donate $10 each to buy insecticide-treated mosquito nets to help save the lives of African children.
"If a child can give $10 in the United States they can save the life of a child in Africa, and I think that's an especially sweet and direct way to reach people in Africa," Mrs. Bush told CBS' "The Early Show."
"This is a disease that's preventable," Mrs. Bush said. "We've eradicated it in the United States generations ago, so people don't even really have a memory of it."
Re-posted from CNN.com.