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.

 

 

 

 

###

 

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.

 

 

Education, Children's Health Linked

Tennessee Faces Infant Mortality Challenges

Oct 12 2008

October 12, 2008

The TENNESSEAN 

By BILL FRIST, M.D.

Tennessee Voices

As chairman of a global drive on children's health, I devote much of my energy these days to improving the survival odds for millions of children in the developing world.

It pains me to tell you that we have a lot of work to do to improve those odds for our own children here at home. And, counterintuitive though it may seem, I believe the place to start is with our education system.

A good education can help lay the foundation for a healthy life. A new report from a national commission describes large disparities in infant mortality in Tennessee and across the nation. The report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America, of which I'm a member, finds that babies born to mothers with less education are less likely to survive their first year of life than those born to more-educated mothers.

This gap in infant mortality by mother's education is larger in Tennessee than in any other state. Infant mortality rates are highest among babies born to mothers who did not graduate from high school — 11.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. For children born to mothers with a college degree or more, the rate is 4.9, a more than twofold difference.

Interestingly, this disparity is not merely a matter of extremes. Infants in the middle experienced shortfalls in survival, as well. For example, those whose mothers have some post-high school education have a death rate of 8.0 per 1,000 live births. In other words, we have a sliding scale of infant mortality that corresponds with maternal education. More years of education for mothers translate into better rates of survival for their children.

This pattern holds true across the nation. The commission has established a national benchmark of 3.2 deaths per 1,000 live births, the lowest infant-mortality rate seen in any state among babies born to mothers with 16 or more years of schooling. That's a rate we know is achievable — and the rate we must strive to achieve for all families.

But how to get there? First, we need to acknowledge that there is much more to good health than health care. In many ways, where and how people live, learn, work and play have more impact on their health than medical care.

As a doctor, I know firsthand that this is true. Poor health rarely occurs in a vacuum. It is shaped by many factors, including education and family income and the resources and opportunities they provide, like access to nutritious foods and adequate housing.

Provide opportunities

Take education, for example. Every child should have the opportunity to an excellent education. Poor education can lead to limited job options and lower income, which, in turn, can limit a family's chances to live in healthy homes and neighborhoods. That's a big part of why we have such a wide disparity in infant mortality rates in this country. If we addressed education and other social issues as part and parcel of health, we wouldn't have so much illness that required so much medical care, including an enormous amount of emergency care.

We spend more per capita on health care than any other country in the world, and yet our health is not nearly what it should be. Nor will it be, until we start focusing more on health than we do on illness. We need to pay more attention to what it means to be born healthy, grow up healthy and maintain good health as adults.

The fact that none of us is as healthy as we should be shows that all of us — employers, educators, public officials, religious leaders and others — need to come together and identify community-based solutions for improving health.

These solutions should be practical, affordable and grounded in evidence. They're out there, but we need to determine which ones will work best for our communities and put them into action. Providing opportunity is what we in the U.S. do best.

We need to give all children the opportunity to see their first birthday and develop into healthy adults. We need to mobilize our energy and our people here in Tennessee, and we need to do it now, before we write off the health of the next generation.

PHYSICIANS FOR PEACE HONORS WILLIAM FRIST, M.D. WITH CHARLES E. HORTON HUMANITARIAN AWARD

RECOGNIZES WORK TO ALEVIATE GLOBAL HEALTH CRISIS

Oct 09 2008

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Cliff Bryant

Physicians for Peace

Dir. Communications & Marketing

757/625-7569

cbryant@physiciansforpeace.org

 

 

 

PHYSICIANS FOR PEACE HONORS WILLIAM FRIST, M.D. WITH CHARLES E. HORTON HUMANITARIAN AWARD

RECOGNIZES WORK TO ALEVIATE GLOBAL HEALTH CRISIS

 

Norfolk, Va. (10/9/2008) — Physicians for Peace, a Norfolk-based international non-profit organization focusing on medical education in the developing world, honored Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. with the  Charles E. Horton Humanitarian Award for Global Health during the organization’s Celebrate the Nations 2008 Gala on October 4 in Virginia Beach, VA. Sen. Frist, M.D. served as the keynote speaker for the event.

 

 “To receive an award bearing Dr. Horton’s name is a tremendous honor,” Frist said.  “Medicine can serve as a currency for peace throughout the world, bringing hope to those in despair and forging new alliances in even the most remote corners of the globe.  Physicians for Peace is a shining example of that principle, and I’m grateful for their tremendous work.” 

 

Frist’s work in the field of global health aligns with the Physicians for Peace mission to foster medical diplomacy. As Frist recently wrote in the Yale Law and Policy Review, “Health is a unique vehicle that crosses boundaries in times of war and distress, and in times of suffering and turmoil. Working to improve the health of our fellow man sends a message that speaks to our common humanity and serves as a vehicle for peacemakers.”

 

Frist, who devoted 20 years to practicing medicine as a cardiothoracic transplant surgeon before entering public service, represented the state of Tennessee in the United States Senate from 1995 to 2007, and served as Senate Majority Leader during the final four years of his tenure. 

 

Since retiring from the Senate, Dr. Frist has worked with many charitable organizations, including Africare, Samaritan’s Purse, Save the Children and The ONE Campaign. At least once a year, he travels as a doctor to sub-Saharan Africa as part of World Medical Mission to do surgery and care for those stricken with disease. He is the Chair of the nonprofit Hope through Healing Hands, which promotes improved quality of life for communities around the world. The organization’s motto, “Using Medicine as a Currency for Peace,” echoes the mission of Physicians for Peace.

 

Speaking at the Physicians for Peace Gala, Sen. Frist expressed the core message of the evening. “Health and health care is the lifeblood of our future,” he noted.  “It touches every life—our grandparents, our parents, and our children.  It is intimate, and personal; it is built on trust; and it is fundamental to long-term economic growth – of a family or of a nation.”

The Charles E. Horton Humanitarian Award for Global Health is given in honor of the late Physicians for Peace founder, Charles E. Horton, MD.  Horton, an internationally recognized humanitarian, founded Physicians for Peace in 1989 and served as its leader until his death in late 2006. Through Horton’s leadership, the organization has touched the lives of tens of thousands of patients and medical professionals in more than 50 countries around the world. The award was given last year to Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, noted expert on global development and Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. 

 

“Sen. Frist’s commitment to addressing the developing world’s health crisis is the embodiment of Dr. Horton’s vision and passions,” noted Physicians for Peace President and CEO Brig. Gen. Ron Sconyers (USAF, Ret.). “His passion and compassion is an inspiration to the Physicians for Peace family, and indeed for humanitarians the world over.”  

 

ABOUT PHYSICIANS FOR PEACE

Physicians for Peace is an international private voluntary organization that mobilizes healthcare educators to assist developing nations with unmet medical needs and scarce resources. Through effective, hands-on medical education and training, clinical care and donated medical supplies, Physicians for Peace creates long-term, sustainable, replicable, and evidence-based projects to help partner nations build medical capability and capacity to help themselves. Volunteers for the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization have conducted medical missions in more than 50 countries. More information is available at www.physiciansforpeace.org.

 

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