Friday, April 4, 2008

White House Highlights Local Impact of President Bush's Health Initiatives in Africa

White House Highlights Local Impact of President Bush's Health Initiatives in Africa
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives conference hosted in Zambia

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA, April 4 /Christian Newswire/ -- The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives today hosted a Conference on Health Initiatives in Lusaka, Zambia to highlight and expand the growing leadership of faith- based and community organizations in disease control, treatment and prevention efforts. White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Director Jay Hein was joined by First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa, U.S. Ambassador Carmen Martinez and other government, private-sector and nonprofit leaders to explore innovative solutions to addressing human need and further advance the U.S. Government's battle against poverty, disease, and other ills in Zambia and across Africa. Following President Bush's visit to Africa last month, the conference furthered the President's vision for "compassion in action" across the continent and around the globe.

"Today's conference joins leaders from American and Zambia to capture, honor and expand models of effective partnership between government and local nonprofits to overcome AIDS, malaria and other ills," said Jay Hein, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. "Empowering locally-built solutions and expanding neighbor-to- neighbor service is central to the President's Faith- Based and Community Initiative and is now an integral part of the U.S. Government's efforts to address human need both at home and abroad."

"It is apparent that this scourge requires a combined effort and cooperation between the church, civil society, government and other faith-based entities," said Mrs. Mwanawasa. "These entities need to collaborate and develop synergies that use a multi- faceted approach in order to have the greatest impact."

Today's event featured a range of effective partnership models between the U.S. Government, Zambian Government, non-government organizations and social entrepreneurs to target community needs throughout the nation. By engaging multi-sector strategies and building sustainable public-private partnerships, the U.S. Government has redefined its approach to international development and disease prevention in Africa.

For example, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President Malaria Initiative (PMI) engage unprecedented efforts to combat disease in Zambia and other developing countries, while helping to build long-term economic stability. These efforts represent large-scale implementation of President Bush's Faith-Based and Community Initiative vision for empowering local solutions to address vexing social challenges.

First announced in 2003, PEPFAR is the largest commitment ever by any nation for an international health initiative dedicated to a single disease -- a five- year, $15 billion, multi-faceted approach to combating HIV/AIDS. More than 80 percent of PEPFAR partners are local organizations, which support more than 15,000 project sites for prevention, treatment, and care. These groups possess distinctive strengths that effectively complement those of government, including community networks, local knowledge and credibility, buildings and other vital assets, dedicated volunteers, and other assets and capabilities.

In June 2005, President Bush launched PMI and pledged to increase U.S. funding by more than $1.2 billion over five years to reduce malaria-related deaths by 50 percent in 15 African countries. He also challenged countries, private foundations, and corporations to join in reducing the suffering and death caused by this disease. In the first two years of implementation, PMI has reached over 25 million people with lifesaving prevention or treatment services. As with PEPFAR, many PMI partners are indigenous faith-based and community organizations engaged in service to their neighbors.

President Bush launched the Faith-Based and Community Initiative in his first days in office to strengthen and grow the work of faith-based and other non-profit organizations as central partners in what the President calls "a determined attack on need." The Initiative seeks to expand the impact of the nonprofit sector by growing partnerships with government, philanthropists, corporations and other partners to address community problems.

For more information on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, visit:

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