Dubya’s Africa Efforts Ongoing

Photo: George W. Bush Institute

Dallas Morning News: Bringing Africa Back to Life:

LUSAKA, Zambia — On a beautiful Saturday morning, Delfi Nyankombe stood among her bracelets and necklaces at a churchyard bazaar and pondered a question: What do you think of George W. Bush?

“George Bush is a great man,” she answered. “He tried to help poor countries like Zambia when we were really hurting from AIDS. He empowered us, especially women, when the number of people dying was frightening. Now we are able to live.”

Nyankombe, 38, is a mother of three girls. She also admires the former president because of his current campaign to corral cervical cancer. Few are screened for the disease, and it now kills more Zambian women than any other cancer.

“By the time a woman knows, she may need radiation or chemotherapy that can have awful side effects, like fistula,” she said. “This is a big problem in Zambia, and he’s still helping us.”

The debate over a president’s legacy lasts many years longer than his term of office. At home, there’s still no consensus about the 2001-09 record of George W. Bush, with its wars and economic turmoil.

In Africa, he’s a hero.

“No American president has done more for Africa,” said Festus Mogae, who served as president of Botswana from 1998 to 2008. “It’s not only me saying that. All of my colleagues agree.”

AIDS was an inferno burning through sub-Saharan Africa. The American people, led by Bush, checked that fire and saved millions of lives.

People with immune systems badly weakened by HIV were given anti-retroviral drugs that stopped the progression of the disease. Mothers and newborns were given drugs that stopped the transmission of the virus from one generation to the next. Clinics were built. Doctors and nurses and lay workers were trained. A wrenching cultural conversation about sexual practices broadened, fueled by American money promoting abstinence, fidelity and the use of condoms.

“We kept this country from falling off the edge of a cliff,” said Mark Storella, the U.S. ambassador to Zambia. “We’ve saved hundreds of thousands of lives. We’ve assisted over a million orphans. We’ve created a partnership with Zambia that gives us the possibility of walking the path to an AIDS-free generation. This is an enormous achievement.”

Bush remains active in African health. Last September, he launched a new program — dubbed Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon — to tackle cervical and breast cancer among African women. The program has 14 co-sponsors, including the Obama administration.

More here.

Bush Commitment to Africa Not Over
Did you know Bush is Still in Africa?

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    I’ll echo it. George W. Bush is a great man. Of all the presidents in my lifetime, I connect with him more so than any other. Sure, Ronald Reagan was the greatest of my life time, but W. comes from my generation and I feel a bond. His presidency may turn out to be flawed (or perhaps not) but I can see the goodness of his heart.

  • Matthew K

    Did anyone else notice this detail?

    …Clinton kiddingly thanked former first lady Laura Bush and daughter Barbara Bush “for getting him to do it,” …

    What sort of deep-seeded bigotry causes someone to assume a man can’t be concerned for women unless he was prodded by women to do so?

  • Matthew K

    or is it “deep-seated”? You get my point.

  • http://www.myspace.com/peterriedesel Peter in Mpls.

    Amen to what Manny said. You can see his heart in the posted picture.

  • Thomas R

    I didn’t vote for him in 2004 due to Abu Gharaib and the debates, I wrote something in, but he was certainly a heck of a lot better for Africa than Clinton or most Presidents.

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  • Ellen

    I have an African student (Nigeria) working for me this summer. She is a dear, kind and smart young woman. We are also blessed with several African priests who have ordained for our diocese. I hope and pray that Mr. Bush’s health initiatives will bear much fruit for the people of Africa.

  • http://www.myspace.com/peterriedesel Peter in Mpls.

    That’s Bush’s heart, I mean.

  • SKay

    Thank you for the post, Anchoress. I am glad that the Dallas Morning News wrote the article–this is not something the MSM media would want to cover. It doesn’t fit their templet of George W Bush.
    It does fit mine.