FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 8, 2008
Contact: HHS Press Office
Senior U.S. Government Officials Travel to Africa to Advance Initiatives Fighting Spread of HIV/AIDS and Malaria
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt and a high-level delegation will visit the African nations of Ethiopia, Ivory Coast and Mali next week to review cooperative efforts to reduce the spread of diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria and highly pathogenic avian influenza. Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Tim Ziemer, the President’s malaria coordinator, are also traveling to Africa with the Secretary.
The U.S. government officials will meet with senior representatives of the governments of the three countries; visit hospitals, clinics and research facilities; and travel to communities in rural areas to see how Africans address the challenges of delivering care in remote locations. They will also meet with religious leaders and tour health-related sites operated by churches and mosques, to see firsthand the role of faith-based organizations in delivering health care in Africa.
The United States provides funding and resources to the three countries to help fight the spread of disease.
Ethiopia and Ivory Coast are two of the 15 focus countries targeted by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The emergency plan is the largest commitment in human history to combat a single disease.
The nationwide HIV/ AIDS prevalence in Ethiopia is an estimated 2.2 percent, which indicates a low-level generalized epidemic. In Ivory Coast, the HIV/AIDS prevalence is an estimated 3.9 percent, and the disease remains one of the main causes of death among adults.
In July 2008, President Bush signed a law that extends the emergency plan for another five years, and includes bilateral and multilateral aid for efforts against HIV/AIDS and other diseases, including tuberculosis and malaria.
Ethiopia and Mali also are two of the 15 target countries addressed by the President’s Malaria Initiative. The goal of the malaria initiative is to reach 85 percent of the most vulnerable groups, children under the age of 5 and pregnant women, with proven and effective prevention and treatment measures. The initiative uses four key methods to prevent and treat malaria: indoor spraying with insecticides, distributing insecticide-treated mosquito nets, providing lifesaving anti-malarial drugs and treating to prevent malaria in pregnant women.
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Last revised: August 11, 2008