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First Ladies Play Important Role In Promoting Global Health

Reflecting on her “time as First Lady Laura Bush’s Chief of Staff from 2005-2009” in an opinion piece in the Huffington Post’s “Politics” blog, Anita McBride, executive-in-residence at American University, discusses PEPFAR, saying the program shows Americans’ “generosity” and that “when our political leaders have courage to think big, work together, find common ground, and make tough decisions — they can change the world.” While in Africa last week, “[t]he Bushes hosted the African First Ladies Summit entitled ‘Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa’ highlighting public-private partnerships including Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, an initiative launched by the George W. Bush Institute. With this initiative, the infrastructure that delivered critical health services to HIV/AIDS patients is now also being used to diagnose and treat cervical and breast cancer,” she notes. McBride discusses Laura Bush’s work with other first ladies to promote issues surrounding “global health, education and the empowerment of women.” She concludes, “Americans have a lot to celebrate in not only their elected presidents but also their first ladies who represent bipartisan commitment to empowering women and improving the health and well-being of the people of Africa and around the world” (7/3).