Friday, December 15, 2006

The African Bush

The dreaded mosquito

Even though it didn’t quite match the matrix to qualify for a front page appearance in a Google ‘Top Story’ or ‘World News’ search, something very important happened on December 14 in relation to malaria in Africa: George W Bush has proposed that the US expand its malaria aid to another 6 African countries. 90% of all cases of malaria occur in Africa.

Last year, Bush pledged one billion American dollars to 17 countries to fight malaria through newer medicines, insecticide treated mosquito nets and spraying of breeding places for mosquitoes. This year he has increased the programme to 23 countries and plans to add more money.

In one country which received American aid last year the number of malaria cases dropped by 90%.

Oddly enough, the New York Times (link below) has a balanced and objective report on Bush’s actions in helping Africa.

One paragraph in the NYT report that particularly caught my attention was: A Gallup poll that was done for Malaria No More in recent days found that while 96 percent of Americans counted AIDS as a very serious problem in Africa, only two-thirds knew that malaria was also a grave threat.

Malaria is a largely preventable disease which kills 3,000 children every day and claims almost a million lives a year in Africa.

We have seen quite a number of people in Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso die from this disease and I, for one, am so thankful that someone as important and influential as President Bush has such a practical interest in Africa. In the past he has also shown concern for alleviating the hardships and distress caused by AIDS and famine in Africa.

Bob Geldof once said: [The French] refuse to accept, because of their political ideology, that [Bush] has actually done more than any American president for Africa, but it's empirically so.

Read more:

Blogger News
White House Malaria Initiative
New York Times