(WASHINGTON) — Returning to Washington, D.C. to discuss one of the most widely supported parts of his legacy — health assistance for Africa — George W. Bush addressed a gathering of African first ladies in a small auditorium at the Kennedy Center Wednesday morning to announce an expansion of his institute’s Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative for cervical and breast cancer screenings in Africa.
The program, which partners with the State Department and private funders, will begin operating in Namibia and Ethiopia, Bush announced.
The program is operated in part under the umbrella of PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which Bush launched to fight AIDS in Africa.
Politically, PEPFAR stands apart from Bush’s otherwise divisive presidential legacy, spoken of favorably by even his fiercest critics.
Bush noted during his remarks that it spanned “bipartisan divisions and two administrations.” It continues under the Obama administration.
“We started the battle against AIDS with a broad emergency response, and there…was no alternative,” Bush said.
He called on the African first ladies in attendance to fight stigma surrounding cervical cancer and women’s health care generally, saying more needs to be done here in the U.S. to fight “false rumors” surrounding HPV vaccines domestically.
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Eric Bradner, Shimon Prokupecz and Dan Merica, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com