First Lady On Mission In Africa

On a mission to fight AIDS and malaria, first lady Laura Bush is on her third trip to Africa.

Her trip includes visits to Senegal, Mozambique, Zambia and Mali. The first lady spoke to The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen from Maputo, Mozambique on Wednesday.

Bush expressed her excitement over a new grant set forth by the president as part of his malaria initiative, which targets the most affected countries in Africa. The $2 million grant was given to an inner-religious group made of Catholic priests, imams and ministers who represent 10 different religious groups.

View photos of the first lady in Africa
These religious representatives met in Mozambique to go into rural communities to teach people how to use insecticide treated nets and show other ways to help eradicate malaria within their villages.

The initiative should reach almost 2 million people.

As part of her visit to Maputo, Mrs. Bush also visited a pediatric hospital that holds a program for mothers and children infected with AIDS. She was very encouraged by the progress of the program called Positive Tea. Positive Tea is a support group, which helps mothers overcome the stigma associated with the disease.

In addition to her work with AIDS and malaria, Mrs. Bush also hopes to raise awareness about women's issues in Africa. She had lunch with several African and American women leaders in Mozambique, including members of the Peace Corps. They discussed how important education is for women.

"If girls and women are educated, they are much less likely to get HIV," Mrs. Bush said. "They are much more likely to know how to protect themselves. They have a chance to contribute to their society."
  • Daniel Aven

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