Former US President George W. Bush will next week visit Zambia to help refurbish a clinic, and then head to Tanzania, where his wife, Laura Bush, is organizing a forum for African first ladies.
Last year, Mr. and Mrs. Bush helped refurbish a clinic in Kabwe, Zambia, where nearly 30,000 women have been treated since, according to his presidential center.
His team will help renovate and reopen another clinic on July 1, this time in Livingstone, Zambia; a team of four Southern Methodist University students left Friday to work on the reconstruction.
Africa was a personal priority for Mr. Bush during his presidency, overshadowed by Iraq, terrorism and other issues but one of the few areas where he drew praise across party lines.
His Millennium Challenge program steered billions of dollars in development aid to countries that committed to reform. His President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or Pepfar, directed lifesaving drugs and other care to millions with HIV and was called the largest humanitarian health effort ever undertaken by any country.
As a result, Mr. Bush remains more popular in Africa than at home, and he has taken pride in his efforts here. He devoted a substantial part of his newly opened presidential museum, outside Dallas at Southern Methodist University, to an exhibit about Pepfar. And global health has been a top focus of the former president’s public policy institute.
Teaming up with Pepfar, the United Nations, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and pharmaceutical companies, Mr. Bush helped form Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, which is devoted to curbing cervical cancer and breast cancer. It started in Zambia in 2011 and expanded to Botswana in 2012.
Mr. Bush’s interest in Africa coincides with that of his own predecessor, Bill Clinton, who has spent much of his own time since office on programs to provide help there. “It was a critical part of his administration,” Ms. Abney said of Mr. Bush. “It’s also something he and Mrs. Bush feel personally about. They feel a commitment to the people there.”