George W. Bush opens new health clinic in Zambia
By April MacIntyre Jul 6, 2012, 14:01 GMT
Former US President George W. Bush EPA/LARRY W. SMITH
Former U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush recently opened a women's health clinic in Kabwe, Zambia.
In what he described as one of the greatest bipartisan achievements of his presidential tenure, both her and Laura Bush currently are acting as advocates for women's health in Africa. Back in 2003, Bush's AIDS initiative was initially funded $15 billion-worth of anti-retroviral drugs and treatment to extend the lives of millions of Africans with HIV and AIDS.
President Bush was in Africa to promote cervical cancer detection and treatment programs for Zambian women, many of whom are living with HIV. Catholic.org reports that the former president has brought over $85 million for cervical cancer programs, through his George W. Bush Center and other partner organizations.
"We care because we believe that to whom much is given, much is required," Bush tells Catholic.org. "And those of us, who live in America, live in the most blessed nation ever and therefore when we see suffering, we ought to act."
Zambia women suffer the highest number of cervical cancer cases in the world. Many are also infected and living with HIV and have weakened immune systems.
"But the saddest thing of all is to know a lady's life has been saved from AIDS but died from cervical cancer," Bush said. "And so starting in Zambia, the Bush Center, along with our partners, are going to put on a cervical cancer crusade to save lives."
J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that the former president is deserving of credit. He says in 2003, Bush saw AIDS in Africa as a humanitarian disaster - that if left unchecked could destabilize the entire continent.
"When the president came forward and said, 'HIV/AIDS - we can save lives," Morrison tells Catholic.org. "We can enhance lives. We can stabilize societies.' It was with a very powerful ethical and moral rationale as much as it was about a security rationale."
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