From the beginning of his administration, President Bush has pushed for more aid to Africa. Motivated perhaps by his deeply felt Christian faith (relieving poverty in Africa has become a major charitable push among evangelicals), the president has pressed for greater aid to Africa across the board. The original PEPFAR legislation (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), which passed in 2003, was the largest single health investment by any government ever ($15 billion). At the time the initiative was launched, only about 50,000 sub-Saharan Africans were receiving antiretroviral treatment for AIDS. Today, 1.7 million people in the region, as well as tens of thousands more around the globe, are receiving such treatment. PEPFAR has also funded efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the AIDS virus, provided compassionate care to the sick and dying, and cared for 5 million orphans. One aspect of the program has been to reduce the stigma of the AIDS diagnosis in Africa.Earlier this week, President Bush was awarded the first International Medal of Peace by the Global Peace Coalition, a group brought together by Megachurch founder Rick Warren.
In July of this year, the president requested that funding for PEPFAR be doubled to $30 billion. The new funding will be used to train 140,000 new health-care workers. It would also address other illnesses, like tuberculosis, that often complicate AIDS.
The president also backed a malaria initiative that has provided an estimated 25 million Africans with nets, spraying, and other prevention and treatment options. Separate from the AIDS funds, the president has tripled development assistance and humanitarian aid to Africa since taking office.
According to Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum website:
The “International Medal of PEACE” is given on behalf of the Global PEACE Coalition for outstanding contribution toward alleviating the five global giants recognized by the Coalition, including pandemic diseases, extreme poverty, illiteracy, self-centered leadership and spiritual emptiness.So, it appears to be a counter of sorts to the now completely meaningless Nobel Peace Prize, of late awarded to frauds (Gore) and blind UN hacks (El Baradei) and America haters (Carter), although this year's award went to Martti Ahtisaari, the veteran UN peace negotiator and former president of Finland.
The Coalition is a network of churches, businesses and individuals cooperating together to solve humanitarian issues through the PEACE Plan, an effort to mobilize 1billion Christians to Promote reconciliation, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick and Educate the next generation.
President-elect Obama also recognized President Bush's leadership on aid to Africa:
I salute President Bush for his leadership in crafting a plan for AIDS relief in Africa and backing it up with funding dedicated to saving lives and preventing the spread of the disease. And my administration will continue this critical work to address the crisis around the world.