FORMER United States of America (USA) president, George W. Bush, arrives in the country tomorrow for a two-day visit meant to help raise awareness about health issues.
And Zambia is among several other sub-Saharan countries that will benefit from US$75 million that has been set aside by the American government to assist in curbing cervical and breast cancers.
US Ambassador to Zambia, Mark Storella, announced Mr Bush’s visit in Lusaka yesterday, saying the former US president’s coming to Zambia was aimed at raising awareness around health issues which included breast and cervical cancers as well as HIV/Aids.
Mr Bush will be accompanied by his wife, Laura and their two daughters. Mr Storella said the US was committed to working with Zambia in combating HIV/Aids, breast and cervical cancers.
He said the 43rd US president would be received by Republican President, Michael Sata and later meet with Zambia’s First Lady, Christine Kaseba. Dr Kaseba is a medical practitioner with a good understanding of women health-related issues in Zambia.
Mr Bush will also meet Minister of Health, Dr Joseph Kasonde as well as visit the Cancer Disease Hospital at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).
Mr Storella said the USA was committed to fighting breast cancer among women in Zambia because the disease accounted for half of all cancers women in Zambia suffered from. “We are working in a public private partnership to fight breast and cervical cancers,” he said.
The former US president will also be accompanied by representatives from some US pharmaceutical companies who have remedies for breast and cervical cancers. Mr Bush is in Tanzania today where he is part of celebrations commemorating World Aids Day. He will then travel to Zambia tomorrow and later Ethiopia to attend the ICASA HIV/Aids Conference.
Mr Storella said the US had been motivated to work with Zambia because of the commitment the Government and the country had shown in combating breast and cervical cancers. The US has also chosen to work with Zambia because of its increased budget in the health sector.
“The health workers in Zambia are also seriously committed and they are working very hard to save lives despite not having adequate resources to carry out their work,” Mr Storella said.
He said with the assistance from the US Government, many Zambians were now on anti-retroviral therapy and the more than US$100millon put in the malaria initiative through indoor residual spraying, incidences of malaria had reduced by 60 per cent.
He said the US was also committed to improving water and sanitation in Lusaka and would set aside $300 million to improve the situation in Livingstone. USA presidential initiative HIV/AIDS country coordinator, Kristin Mikus, reiterated the USA’s commitment to fighting breast and cervical cancers as well as HIV/Aids in Zambia.
[Times of Zambia]