From Chisha Mutale –
in Washington DC
FORMER US president George Bush has commended First Lady Christine Kaseba for championing the fight against cervical cancer in Zambia.
Mr Bush said many African first ladies such as Dr Kaseba had led efforts to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV, which was the first step necessary in creating an AIDS-free generation.
Speaking on Wednesday at the one-day symposium for spouses of African Heads of State entitled ‘Investing in Our Future’ at the US-Africa Leaders Summit, Mr Bush also said success of any nation was impossible without the political participation and economic empowerment and health of women.
The former US president said women and young girls were particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS as a result of poverty and violence.
He said women with HIV were 45 times likely to develop cervical cancer as their bodies no longer had the ability to fight infections.
Mr Bush said this fatal link between cervical and breast cancer was the number one killer of women in Africa.
He said this prompted the Bush Institute to launch the Pink and Red Ribbon Campaign, a public private partnership that combats cancer in women.
Mr Bush said the Yellow and Red Ribbon Campaign was currently in three African countries, which include Zambia, Tanzania and Botswana.
He said the campaign was expanding to include Ethiopia and Namibia.
Mr Bush said the goal of the campaign was to create working modules and provide partnerships that additional countries over time could incorporate into their own national plans.
The symposium was hosted by the Office of First Lady Michelle Obama, the George W Bush Institute and the US Department of State.