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Laura Bush's African Tour

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First Lady Laura Bush has been on a four-nation tour of Africa this week, pledging money and aid to HIV/AIDS and other disease and poverty stricken areas. While pledging an additional $30 billion dollars for AIDS funding, Reuters reports that Mrs. Bush also announced an extra $507 million dollars on Wednesday, “approved for Mozambique to build roads and boost its battle with malaria, which kills about 150 Mozambicans each day.”

Malaria is still debilitating many African countries today, in large part due to a lack of new methods to combat the disease. According to USA Today, nets sprayed with the pesticide DDT is mildly effective, but DDT itself is “notorious because of the environmental damage inflicted by large-scale spraying and banned worldwide apart from specific anti-mosquito applications.” Recently, however, DDT has gained some support with the World Health Organization, because of its effectiveness and sub-par alternatives. By spraying DDT on the inside of homes in small amounts, malaria can be reduced without DDT harming vegetation. “DDT is relatively cheap and only needs to be sprayed once or twice a year,” the article continues. Initiatives such as President Bush’s U.S. Malaria Initiative hopes to target around 15 African nations to help greatly slash malaria.

Also along for the quick and productive trip was First Twin Jenna Bush. As a volunteer for UNICEF in Latin America and the Caribbean, Jenna Bush is no stranger to humanitarian work herself. Her book, Ana’s Story, about a Latin American teen struggling with AIDS, comes out in the fall. Proceeds from book sales will go to UNICEF.

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