April 27, 2013

HE OF THE LOFTY SLUGGING PERCENTAGE:

George W. Bush's Legacy on Africa Wins Praise, Even From Foes (Dana Hughes, Apr 26, 2013, ABC)


At more than $5 billion a year in humanitarian aid to Africa, President Bush has given more assistance to the continent than any other president.  His administration's aid was largely targeted to fight the major global health issues facing the continent, HIV/AIDS and malaria.

In 2003 Bush founded the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which guaranteed $15 million to be spent over the course of five years on prevention, treatment and research on HIV/AIDS. Under the Bush administration, the U.S. was also a leader in contributing to the Global Fund on AIDS.

Though there was controversy over some of the qualifications for PEPFAR funds -up to 20% was to be spent on abstinence-focused prevention programs, and the funds could not be used for needle-sharing programs -- most HIV/AIDS activists credit the program for being instrumental in turning the tide on AIDS.

Before PEPFAR, an estimated 100,000 people were on anti-retroviral drugs in sub-Saharan Africa. By the time Bush left office in 2008 that number had increased to about 2 million.
In 2005 Bush started a $1.2 billion  initiative to fight malaria. He defended the request for funding in 2007, saying, "There's no reason for little babies to be dying of mosquito bites around the world."

At Thursday's ceremony, President Clinton said in his travels throughout Africa he had "personally seen the faces of some of the millions of people who are alive today" because of Bush's policies.

Even some of Bush's most ardent critics have admitted that his foreign policy legacy on Africa continues to have a lasting effect.

U2 front-man and activist Bono, who criticized Bush on the Iraq War, nonetheless expressed his admiration for the Republican president on an appearance on the Daily Show last year, telling Stewart that Bush did an "amazing" job in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

"I know that's hard for you to accept," Bono said to a surprised crowd and host, "but George kind of knocked it out of the park. I can tell you, and I'm actually here to tell you that America now has 5 million people being kept alive by these drugs. That's something that everyone should know."

Posted by at April 27, 2013 8:21 AM
  

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