A few years back, I was in Southern Sudan.

Late one afternoon, walking down a dusty, rural road — a family approached – a mother with a yellow jug of water on her head and a baby swaddled across her back.

She was following two young children … who were playfully spinning an old bicycle wheel with a stick. The children came over and greeted me.

The older child said, “My name is America.” I said, “America? I love your name that’s where I’m from. How did you get your name …”America?”

Glancing up at his mother with pride, the boy explained, “My mom named me ‘America’ because an American doctor saved our lives the day I was born.

Without America, I would not be alive.”

There are millions of other children around the world like “America,” thanks to the volunteer spirit of everyday citizens and Republican leadership that made this cause a priority.

This medical diplomacy transforms hearts and minds and revolutionizes how people of the world see us.

Health is the foundation for strong families and for prosperous societies. Health builds trust ,and health bridges divides. That’s why America’s investment in medical diplomacy is a long-term investment in national security.

Health is a currency for peace …

I’m proud to tell you that it was a Republican president and a Republican-led Congress that launched our nation’s historic initiative to fight AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis in the world’s poorest countries — the greatest global health commitment in history.

Has it made a difference? Oh yes! In just six years, the number of Africans on life-saving treatment jumped from 50,000 to over 2 million! The incidence of malaria has been slashed by two-thirds in some countries. Today, 20 million more children are in school.

But much work remains to be done.

HIV/AIDS continues to hollow out entire generations of people at the prime of their lives. It’s easy for people to lose hope. And when they do, the vacuum is filled with desperation, instability, and – yes, the seeds of terrorism.

John McCain understands that health diplomacy can be a powerful antidote to terrorism.

John McCain knows you don’t go to war with someone who has saved the life of your child.

Six weeks ago, Cindy McCain and I were in the small, central African country of Rwanda. …a country where, in 1994, an extremist government …slaughtered over a million people in the worst human catastrophe since the Holocaust.

In a meeting with local leaders, I asked who in the room was actually in Rwanda at the time of the genocide. Few raised their hands – but Cindy McCain did.

You see, at a time when most of the world looked away, Cindy was there, on the ground — with medical relief, a huge heart, and open arms.

Through more than 50 similar medical missions, Cindy McCain has brought comfort to those in anguish, serving as America’s most passionate ambassador for peace.

John McCain understands that entrepeneurship and sustainable economic growth bloom where there is democracy, accountability, and free markets.

Using innovative new institutions like the Millenium Challenge Corporation, he will make certain that U.S. aid will not be squandered by corrupt foreign governments, or wasted by inefficient bureaucracies.

John McCain understands that health and responsible international assistance are core components of our strategy for national security. They become the foundation for enduring peace.

John McCain understands that we can be the generation to make extreme poverty… history.

John McCain will lead with compassion and urgency to save lives, to show America’s greatness, and to spread peace through health, one child at a time… for a better, safer world …for us all.

God bless you… and God bless the children of the world.