disease in africa
At the recent U.S.- Africa Leaders Summit, President Bush spoke to the spouses of African leaders about the need for greater efforts in combating not only AIDS, but cancer as well.

Bush has spent a great majority of his time after being president fighting AIDS and getting treatment to women in order to prevent breast and cervical cancer in Africa. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s 2013 annual report stated that in sub-Saharan Africa, more than 93,000 women develop cervical cancer per year and an estimated 57,000 women die annually because of it. In the region, 94,000 cases of breast cancer a year have been found with 50,000 women unable to win their battle with breast cancer.

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is an organization that improves existing healthcare programs in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Organizing members of this partnership include the George Bush Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These groups collaborate to find improvements in preexisting health programs which aim to reduce the number of deaths caused by breast and cervical cancer.

While Bush was in office, he headed a program for the fight against AIDS called the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. PEPFAR fights AIDS globally and provides testing, counseling and medical treatment. In 2003, PEPFAR pledged $15 billion in spending on combatting AIDS through 2008. This was three times the amount the U.S. had spent fighting this disease before.

In his African Summit address, Bush urged the importance of collecting better data, and improving treatment and education. He also urged the importance of avoiding discrimination when it comes to healthcare given that, in Uganda, homosexuality is criminalized.

Bush explained that “Applied with clear goals and accountability, this saturation approach presents an amazing opportunity. It also requires something from the rest of us. It is impossible to direct help where it is needed most when any group is targeted for legal discrimination and stigma. Compassion and tolerance are important medicines.”

– Kori Withers

Sources: New York Times, Political Ticker, World Health Organization, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon 1, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon 2, Huffington Post
Photo: Look to the Stars