This week, families across America will gather to celebrate their blessings in the tradition of Thanksgiving. It has become a day of televised parades, nonstop football games, and indulgent overeating. But it wasn't always a day of gluttony and gridiron. It started with a simple and prayerful observance of our forefathers gathering to offer their profound thanks to god who had given them strength to survive in their very challenging transition to life in a new world.

Global Health Forum for Middle Tennessee

Save the Date: February 27, 2009

Nov 19 2008

Would you like to learn more about the global health projects taking place through the work of organizations in Tennessee?

Join the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) on February 27th, 2009 for their first annual Global Health Forum for Middle Tennessee.

Sustainable projects involve many factors that overlap and affect one another. Teamwork and a strategic approach can make the difference in success. The 2009 Tennessee Global Health Forum is an opportunity for organizations from throughout the region to come together in an effort to combine forces and share our current projects.

Join Vanderbilt in learning effective approaches toward sustainability and exploring the potential for new partnerships.

Program specifics coming soon!

Go to Vanderbilt University Middle Tennessee Global Health Forum site for more details soon.

Washington, D.C.

November 12, 2008

9:05pm

 

  • Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
  • Thank you, Dr. Frazer and Representative Payne.
  • And Thank you, Julius and Africare for putting together such a memorable evening.

 

  • It’s an honor to be here tonight to celebrate what will be the legacy of President George W. Bush: his historic and unprecedented commitment to the people of Africa.

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  • For more than twenty years, I’ve traveled to underserved areas in the developing world, often conflict nations, with World Medical Missions – not as a senator, not as an official representing the U.S. – but as a single volunteer equipped with the tools of medicine and surgery, with a goal to touch individual lives.

  

  • My own interest in HIV began as a surgical resident in Boston, who in 1981, when AIDS was first observed in the U.S., really could not fathom that a single virus could so easily devastate one’s immune system and ability to fight infections.

 

  • I went on to become a transplant specialist where we had to become experts in immune system depression and infectious disease – and over the next 20 years in medicine I watched this single virus, spread to become what is now a pandemic of biblical proportions.

 

  • What bothered me – as the first physician elected to the Senate since 1928 – was that the U.S gave some lip service to global HIV, but in reality we as a nation remained on the sidelines, as societies around the world were hollowed out.

 

  • But this changed because of the leadership of one man.  President Bush – yes, a Repbulican, who had never been to Africa -- said that we Americans will act in a way that is bigger and better than any country had acted against a single disease in history.

 

  • He said we will lead the world – and we did.

 

  • I remember in the year 2000 going to the Cabinet room in the White House for a regular Senate leadership meeting with the President.  I had just been elected as the most junior member in leadership … so my time for comment around that big oval table would always come last. 

 

  • We had covered taxation, Afghanistan, prescription drugs, the Middle East, and domestic economic policy.  So, with a picture in my pocket of a young woman who was suffering from HIV, I mentioned what I had seen and treated on my mission trips.

 

  • The President came alive.  Sitting on the edge of his seat, he spoke with passion about what he had learned; he knew the magnitude of the problem, he knew the names of the ARVs, he described how Nivirapine could save the lives of newborns -- he made it clear that he would act.

 

  • And act he did.

 

  • President Bush hosted a very small dinner in early-January 2003 in the Red Room at the White House. He invited Karyn and me, Kofi Annan, and  four others for a very special occasion: he announced privately what he would  reveal to the nation the next week: his Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

 

  • In the 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush asked “Congress to commit $15 billion dollars over the next five years to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean.”

 

  • I was blown away.

 

  • After his speech that night, I was interviewed by the media, as a Senator, and I told a reporter, “Five years from now, all anyone will remember will be President Bush’s historic announcement to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa.”

 

  • And here we are, five years from that moment, celebrating this momentous commitment to Africa, including --  

--the lives of 1.6 million Africans who are now receiving treatment because of PEPFAR

-- another 2 million through our contributions to the Global Fund

--the 12.7 million pregnancies in which mother-to-infant transmission was prevented

--and the care of over 6.6 million people with HIV/AIDS.

 

  • Other Initiatives in Africa led by President Bush include the following:

1.      Malaria:  His five-year, $1.2 billion effort to combat malaria has provided 4 million insecticide-treated bed nets and 7 million drug therapies to vulnerable people

 

2.      Sudan.  In Sudan, the United States played a central role as peacemaker in ending a 20-year civil war between the Arab north and African south, which killed 2 million people.

 

3.      Genocide.  It was the Bush administration that first raised the alarm about the atrocities in Darfur.

 

4.      Trade:  The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, approved in 2000 and reauthorized in expanded form in 2004, provides trade benefits with the United States for 40 African countries that have implemented reforms to encourage economic growth.

 

5.      MCC: Africa has received $3.5 billion in additional funds from Bush's Millennium Challenge Corporation initiative, which rewards poor countries that encourage economic growth, govern well, and provide social services for their people.

 

  • America is spreading peace through health. It is medicine as a currency for peace.  It is health diplomacy at its best.

 

  • We pay tribute tonight to President George W. Bush who has proven to be the world’s leader in the crisis of AIDS in Africa.

 

  • He launched an amazing beginning, but we still have a long way to go.

 

  • Because for every 1 person we treat, 4 more are newly infected. And only 1 in 10 with HIV actually knows that they are infected.

 

  • There is much work to be done. And that is why your support of Africare and its missions is so vital.

 

  • Please join me tonight in pledging our continued support for Africare to lead us in the fight against global disease and extreme poverty.

 

  • Thank You and God Bless.

Washington, D.C.


 

 7:19 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Frank, and thanks for this great honor. I accept it gratefully, but it ought to be offered to the American people.

Laura and I are thrilled to be with you. I am always a better man when my wife is by my side. (Laughter and applause.)

I want to thank Julius Coles, the President of Africare. Maria Walker, the widow of Bishop John Walker. I was thinking coming over -- let's see, I'm George Walker Bush -- (laughter.) I don't know -- what do you think? (Laughter.) Anyway, Ms. Walker, thank you very much for joining us.

I want to thank the members of the Africare Board of Directors for this honor, but more importantly, for the work you do in Africa.

I thank my friend, Congressman Don Payne, who's one of the leading -- (applause) -- the leading authorities in the United States Congress on African affairs. I'm pleased members of my administration have joined me and Laura here tonight.

Henrietta Fore, Administrator of USAID. (Applause.) The head of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Ambassador John Danilovich. (Applause.) The U.S. Malaria Coordinator, Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer -- thank you for coming, Admiral. (Applause.)

I'm pleased to be here with Lloyd Pierson, President and CEO of African Development Foundation; Ron Tschetter, Director of the mighty Peace Corps. (Applause.)

Laura and I have the privilege of hosting Bill Frist and his wife Karen at the White House tonight. Make sure you make your bed, Senator, but we thank for coming. (Laughter and applause.)

I want to thank members of the Diplomatic Corps. We are proud you are here tonight.

I'm in pretty good company when it comes to this Humanitarian Service Award. Julius said, man, you're hanging out with some good folks. Last year's award winner went to -- recipient was President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, a great woman. (Applause.) Last year's dinner speaker was, in fact, my wife, Laura. And frankly, knowing both women, I am not sure which is a harder act to follow. (Laughter.)

I really am glad Laura is here because our work in Africa -- and I say our collective work in Africa is a labor of love for us. Laura and I have been to Africa a lot. She has worked in an effective way to help promote education and health. Our girls, Barbara and Jenna, have done a lot of work to help promote dignity on the continent of Africa, particularly with those folks living with HIV/AID. I am proud of their work, and I'm proud of the work of millions of our fellow citizens. It is amazing to me that when you go to Africa the number of Americans you meet who are living out the universal call to love a neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself -- who are hearing that admonition that "to whom much is given much is required." (Applause.)

I appreciate those who support Africare. I thank you for your work in caring for orphans in Uganda, or fighting polio in Angola, or resettling refugees from Sudan. I thank you for the work you do in 20 nations on the continent of Africa. And in that work, you are carrying out the vision of the man we honor, Bishop John Walker.

When he was a young clergyman in the '60s, he traveled to Uganda. He was welcomed in the homes of people who needed his message of love. That experience convinced Bishop Walker that Africa's greatest treasure is not its spectacular scenery or natural resources -- but it is the determined spirit of its people. (Applause.)

Bishop Walker understood that disease and poverty and injustice are great challenges -- but he also knew that the people of Africa have the talent and ambition and resolve to overcome them. And frankly, that has been the heart of our policy toward Africa. We do not believe in paternalism; we believe in partnership, because we believe in the potential of the people on the continent of Africa. (Applause.)

I've had a lot of uplifting experiences as the President. And one of the most uplifting has been to witness a new and more hopeful era dawning on the continent. Over the past eight years, it's been moving to watch courageous Africans root out corruption, and open up their economies, and invest in the prosperity of their people. The United States stands with these leaders as partners and friends and allies in hope through the work of the Millennium Challenge Account.

On my trip to Africa this February, I joined President Kikwete of Tanzania to sign a five-year, nearly $700 million Millennium Challenge Compact, which will help build up Tanzania's infrastructure. And as part of this compact, Africare is helping to extend electricity to homes and businesses in some of the most remote areas of the country. My fellow citizens need to hear what President Kikwete said. He said that the Millennium Challenge program is a "source of pride" -- "making it possible for the people of Tanzania to chart a brighter future."

Notice he didn't say, making it possible for the American people to chart a brighter future for Tanzania. He said, making it possible for the citizens of Tanzania to chart their own future. (Applause.)

It is uplifting to see people freed from hunger and thirst. And I'm proud of the fact that the American people have supported programs to help feed tens of millions of people on the continent. And I appreciate the work of people here in Africare for helping on that work. Your organization has partnered with our government to address the lack of clean and safe drinking water. This is one of the greatest challenges to development in African nations -- and through your efforts this evening you're helping to overcome it.

On a way -- one way our country is working with African governments is to provide safe water through private-public partnerships, and one such innovative program is called the PlayPumps Alliance. Mr. Dale Jones of PlayPumps, International, is with us today. You probably may not have heard of PlayPumps Alliance -- it's kind of hard for me to say. (Laughter.) But here's the way it works. PlayPumps are children's merry-go-rounds attached to a water pump and a storage tank -- and so when the wheel turns, clean water is produced. Laura and Jenna helped to get one of these new pumps moving during their visit to a Zambian school. As the wheel spun, children on the merry-go-round shouted and laughed with joy -- at the same time, they helped to keep their friends in good health.

There are innovative ways to express the compassion of the American people on the continent of Africa. And I want to thank PlayPumps, International for being one of the innovators. (Applause.)

On my trips to Africa, it has been uplifting to see people fulfilling their God-given potential thanks to a good education. The Africa Education Initiative was mentioned, but a part of that initiative is the fact that we've trained 700,000 teachers, distributed more than 10 million textbooks, and provided hundreds of thousands of scholarships to help girls go to school.

In Liberia, I met a woman named Deddeh Zaizay, who told me that her husband had abandoned her and her three children because she was illiterate. Deddeh is learning to read. She proudly declared in front of the President of Liberia that she plans to go to college. And she has set her sights high -- she wants to be the President of Liberia one day. (Laughter and applause.)

I do not see how you can have a hopeful life if your mother and father is dying of HIV/AIDS, or your baby is dying needlessly because of a mosquito bite. And so we have taken a strong stand against deadly disease. Through the Malaria Initiative, we've partnered with African nations to dramatically reduce infection rates and save lives. Laura and I saw the good work of the American people and the good work of Africare firsthand in Tanzania's Meru District Hospital. New mothers bring their babies into this hospital; they have them tested for malaria and HIV. Nurses distribute bed net vouchers, where mothers can use to buy insecticide-treated bed nets.

Laura and I met the mothers. I cannot tell you the expression of pride they had on their face when they held their babies up and said, my baby is healthy. Nothing more hopeful than to see the joy on a mother's face, realizing that her baby has escaped the scourge of the deadly disease of malaria. I thank all those in this audience, and around our nation, who have helped this Malaria Initiative become robust and effective.

And then, of course, there's the extraordinary story -- stories related to PEPFAR. We launched the initiative in 2003; only 50,000 people in Sub-Sahara Africa were receiving antiretroviral treatment. Today, as was mentioned, we support treatment for nearly 1.7 million people in the region. (Applause.) Africare is making vital contributions to this effort. And with your help, people across Africa now speak of a Lazarus effect: Communities once given up for dead are being brought back to life.

Laura and I have seen this miracle with our own eyes. I'm sure many of you have, as well. She traveled to South Africa in 2005 -- Laura visited a PEPFAR-supported clinic for HIV-positive pregnant women. There, she met Kunene Tantoh. When Kunene first arrived at the clinic, she virtually had no immune system left. But with the treatment she received, Kunene survived. Not only did she survive, two years later she was in the Rose Garden at the White House. She brought with him -- she brought with her, her son, Baron. She wanted Laura and me to see an HIV-free baby. Baron is a reminder of the many lives that have been touched and saved by the compassion of the American people. And he represents the bright and promising future awaiting the folks in Africa.

In our visits to the continent, we have been overwhelmed by the affection and gratitude that the African people show to the American people. Oh, a lot of people are out there saying, why should I care about Africa? What good does it do me, Mr. President, for our government to support Africa? Well, I'll tell you what good it does. One, it is in our national security interest that we defeat hopelessness. It is in our economic interest that we help economies grow. And it is in our moral interest that when we find hunger and suffering, the United States of America responds in a robust and effective way. (Applause.)

I thank Africare for being on the leading edge of this transformative series of initiatives. I hope you feel as good about your contribution as I feel as good about our government's contribution to doing what's right. I'm honored to receive this aware. I am honored to be the President of the most compassion, greatest nation on the face of the Earth. God bless you, and God bless the people of America and Africa. (Applause.)

Thank you all. (Applause.)

END 7:33 P.M. EST

Africare Honors President George W. Bush

2008 Africare Award Dinner

Nov 12 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 


Press Release

 

 

 

CONTACT INFORMATION                                                                            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tina Musoke, Media Relations     

Office: (202) 328-5311

Email: tmusoke@africare.org

 

 

Africare Honors President George W. Bush

 at 2008 Africare Award Dinner

Pays tribute to significant contributions to development assistance on the African continent.

 

Washington, DC, November 12, 2008-- Every fall, more than 2,000 international, government and corporate leaders gather in Washington, DC, for what has become the largest annual event for Africa in the United States. The Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner pays tribute to leaders in humanitarian fields pertaining to Africa — and supports Africare's work.

 

This year, President George W. Bush was the recipient of the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award at the event held on November 12 at The Hilton Washington Hotel in Washington, DC. Given annually at the Africare Dinner, this award recognizes the work of an individual or individuals who have made a significant impact on alleviating human suffering in Africa. Prior recipients include President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, then-President Nelson Mandela, former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, women’s rights advocates Dorothy I. Height and Graca Machel, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates.

 

“We are pleased this year to have the President of the United States, George W. Bush, as the recipient of the Bishop John T. Walker Service Award,” Julius E. Coles, President of Africare remarked. “I cannot think of a more deserving person for this award given the tremendous increase in development  and humanitarian resources that President Bush has provided to the continent of Africa to improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.”

 

Since taking office in 2001, President Bush has transformed the way development assistance is carried out on the African continent by creating partnerships with African governments, businesses and civil society organizations to promote economic growth. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has committed over 60 billion dollars to fight global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. In addition, his administration has facilitated $34 billion to diminish debt, over $14 billion to invest in economies, nearly $4.5 billion to fight poverty and $10 million for clean water on the African continent.

 

The theme of the 2008 Bishop Walker Dinner was “Clean Water--Life’s Lifeline.” With 340 million Africans lacking access to safe drinking water and more than 497 million having no access to proper sanitation, the dinner highlighted the need for clean, safe water on the African continent and Africare's commitment to delivering safe water and improving sanitation conditions.

 

Among those who attended the dinner were U.S. First Lady Laura Bush; Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frasier; Dr. Dorothy I. Height; the Honorable Andrew Young, the Honorable William Frist, MD; Mrs. Thurgood Marshall and actor Dave Chappelle.

 

 

Africare is a leading non-profit organization specializing in African development and aid. It is also the oldest and largest African-American led organization in that field. Since its founding in 1970, Africare has delivered more than $710 million in assistance and support — over 2,500 projects and millions of beneficiaries — to 36 countries Africa-wide. Africare has its international headquarters in Washington, DC, with field offices currently in some 25 African countries.

 

The Bishop Walker Dinner plays an important role in enabling Africare to both broaden awareness about its work in Africa and to raise critically needed funds to deliver life-saving services. Africare is committed to working with Health and HIV/AIDS; Food Security and Agriculture, Emergency and Humanitarian Aid; and Water and Sanitation. The 2007 Africare Bishop Walker Dinner had over 2,000 attendees and raised over $1.1 million.

 

The Africare Dinner is named after the late John T. Walker, the first African-American Episcopal Bishop of Washington, DC, and long-time Chairman of Africare. Bishop Walker loved Africa and the great energy and beauty of her peoples. He dedicated years of his life to his vision of what he knew Africa could become. Bishop Walker passed away on September 30, 1989.

 

 

 

 

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Commentary: Why it's good to have former senators in charge

CNN

By William H. Frist

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) -- Now is the time for a new beginning. And how it is approached may well turn on the often overlooked fact that both the president-elect and the vice president-elect are products of the U. S. Senate.

America shines at her best in times of challenge, and never in my adult life have we seen more challenge coming from more dimensions. I encourage Republicans to rally behind this president-elect and openly express support for the call for change throughout our legislative and executive branches.

I encourage Democrats not to repeat the missteps made by Republicans by excluding thoughtful debate. And I encourage the American people to stay involved with the intensity manifested by heightened participation in the democratic process.

My teaching on the Princeton campus last year revealed to me an explosion of energizing interest in "the system" and how to make it better from within -- very different from when I was there 38 years ago and the same activism was channeled toward tearing it down.

The wounds of the campaign are not as deep or angry as the media portray. For many, there is disappointment, and this must be consoled with time and discussion; for more, there is a sense of hope and quiet optimism that fresh ideas and new faces and commitment to collaboration can, if handled with care and grace, nurture a new prosperity.

Having served in the U.S. Senate, I am proud that that body, historically avoided as a source of presidential leadership, produced three of the four candidates and now the president and vice president.

The Senate is a strange animal. Unlike the House, it is weighted to give the minority party exceptional power. And that's why we have these super-majority (and, to the public, usually hard to fathom!) thresholds like cloture and the filibuster.

Both of our new leaders are creatures of this body, a body that our founding fathers deliberately elevated to one of deliberation and discussion and unlimited debate and enhanced minority power.

That unique Senate legislative experience of the president- and vice-president-elect -- with the understanding it brings both to lead on principle but govern with compromise and to respect uniquely the minority's participation -- stations them ideally for a time when the American people expect their government to work together to aggressively attack the problems that face us.

My former colleague John McCain returns to the Senate to participate with a style that fits the time. What made my life tough at times as leader -- his working on his own agenda, working almost obsessively across the aisle, putting principle before party and defending through passionate debate his conservative views -- is what can make him an effective force in shaping the change that these elections spoke so loudly to.

And to the president-elect, what an opportunity! Times are tough, but the people have rallied to your call. You have the followers; you have the believers; even your loudest critics recognize that you are endowed with leadership talents that are precious.

To move the nation forward, keep listening to the American people. Be straight with them, and don't over-promise. Fill the gaps where you lack experience with the brightest minds with the highest values. iReport.com: Share your message for Obama

And finally, though this may appear a bit self-serving, the doctor in me is shouting out not to forget an issue that has been driven to the background by the credit markets, job losses and threats overseas: health care.

Ever-rising health costs drive people to the ranks of uninsured. The 15 million hard-core uninsured need your immediate attention. There is nothing more intimate or more personal to any of us than the health of our loved ones. Don't let it slip to the back burner.

So, even in these tough and depressing times defined by an economic crisis that will -- yes, will -- have an end, I am pretty excited about the future. Let's all play our part as citizens of the greatest and freest country in the world.

The opinions expressed in the commentary are solely those of William Frist.

 

New Hope through Healing Hands website is Live!

Go to www.hopethroughhealinghands.org

Nov 10 2008

We are very excited to announce that the new website for Hope through Healing Hands is officially live!

Go to www.hopethroughhealinghands.org website today for updates on the latest news, interesting blogs, and informative articles on global health issues to deepen your interest and engagement in issues that affect "the bottom billion." We are working hard to create change through issues like clean water, maternal health/child survival, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and sustainable development. Join us today to learn more about what you can do to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Jenny Eaton Dyer, Ph.D.

 

 

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