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DEVELOPMENT REPORT – July 15, 2002: US Money for AIDS in Africa - 2002-07-11

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

President Bush has announced a new five-hundred-million dollar plan to help prevent the spread of the AIDS virus in developing countries. Mister Bush said the money will be used in several countries in Africa and the Caribbean to prevent pregnant women from passing the AIDS virus to their babies.

Each day, more than two-thousand babies become infected with H-I-V, the virus that causes AIDS. Infected mothers pass the virus to their babies either during pregnancy, birth or while breast-feeding. The Bush proposal seeks to provide medicine for one-million pregnant women and their babies each year during the next five years. The goal is to reduce the number of infected babies by forty percent. The program also hopes to build health systems so that mothers and other adults can receive tests and treatment for AIDS and H-I-V.

Earlier this year, Congress approved two-hundred-million dollars to fight AIDS. The new Bush plan will increase that amount by three-hundred-million dollars over the next two years. President Bush says the money will be spent in ten African and Caribbean countries. They are Botswana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Guyana, and Haiti. United States government agencies will carry out the plan.

President Bush announced his new plan last month before traveling to Canada for a meeting of the world’s seven leading industrialized countries and Russia. A top issue discussed at the Group of Eight meeting was aid to Africa. The Bush Administration had been under growing international pressure to show support for poor countries. Administration officials hope its new AIDS proposal will ease criticism about American aid to developing nations.

Last year, more than five-million people were infected with H-I-V. About seven-hundred-thousand of those victims were babies. President Bush said that medical science has provided the power to help save these young lives. He said this is something the United States must do.

Mister Bush recently announced he will visit Africa next year. He said the trip will seek to increase trade between the United States and African nations. He said other goals are to reduce poverty, protect workers’ rights and support human rights.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.