Mrs. Laura Bush Announces Phase II Countries Under President's Malaria Initiative

08 Jun 2006
Today, Mrs. Laura Bush announced Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Senegal as the newest countries to be added to the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) -- an historic $1.2 billion, five-year initiative to control malaria in Africa. Announced by President Bush on June 30, 2005, these four nations will join Tanzania, Uganda, and Angola as focus countries for the PMI.

"Today, malaria is the number one killer of children in Africa, and more than a million people around the world die of its effects each year," Mrs. Bush said. "Malaria is largely preventable and the President's Malaria Initiative - along with the efforts of other governments and private partners - is working to eradicate malaria as a devastating killer of women and children."

During the event, hosted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Mrs. Bush also introduced Mr. R. Timothy Ziemer as the U.S. Malaria Coordinator. In this newly developed position, he will have direct authority over both the President's Malaria Initiative and all USAID malaria programs and policy.

Led by USAID, in partnership with the Departments of State, Health and Human Services and the White House, PMI will significantly increase resources to the focus countries, providing not only experienced technical assistance, but also the most advanced and effective prevention and treatment methods available.

The goal of the Initiative is to reduce malaria deaths by half in each targeted African country through the achievement of high-impact interventions among 85 percent of the most vulnerable populations. Such actions include the introduction of long-lasting mosquito nets, spraying of homes with insecticides, and the mass distribution of new anti-malarial treatment called artemisinin-based combination therapy.

By the end of March 2006, PMI was supporting activities to benefit approximately 1.7 million Africans. A series of highly effective programs are scheduled for launch during the next four months that will benefit an additional four million people.

Introducing Mrs. Bush, Ambassador Randall L. Tobias, Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and USAID Administrator stated, "This humanitarian effort underscores the resolve of Americans to help neighbors in need, wherever they may be. Malaria is the main cause of death and illness in these countries, especially among children under five."

The four countries were chosen by an inter-agency group based on the burden of malaria, sound malaria control practices, interest on the part of the host country, and other factors. Assessment missions to identify possible program elements are already underway.

Mr. Ziemer comes to USAID after a distinguished 31-year career in the U.S. Navy where he reached the position of Rear Admiral. Most recently, he served as the Executive Director of World Relief, whose work with local churches in the U.S. and around the world in the areas of disaster relief, refugee assistance, AIDS ministries, among other services, creates sustainable solutions that help the poor and suffering.