Former President George W. Bush is worried President Trump will cut funding for a cause he started during his second term in office — and for good reason.
Bush penned an op-ed for the Washington Post Friday, asking the Trump administration to fund programs that are “proven to be efficient,” arguing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) — an initiative he started during his presidential tenure — should continue to receive full funding from the federal government. He wrote:
‘Some will argue that we have enough problems at home and shouldn’t spend money overseas. I argue that we shouldn’t spend money on programs that don’t work, whether at home or abroad.’
He continued, saying: “They should fully fund programs that have proven to be efficient, effective and results-oriented. Saving nearly 12 million lives is proof that PEPFAR works, and I urge our government to fully fund it. We are on the verge of an AIDS-free generation, but the people of Africa still need our help. The American people deserve credit for this tremendous success and should keep going until the job is done.”
Touting PEPFAR’s success, Bush continued:
‘My administration launched PEPFAR in 2003 to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic that threatened to wipe out an entire generation on the continent of Africa. Nearly 15 years later, the program has achieved remarkable results in the fight against disease. Today, because of the commitment of many foreign governments, investments by partners, the resilience of the African people and the generosity of the American people, nearly 12 million lives have been saved. And nearly 2 million babies have been born HIV-free to infected mothers.’
President Trump’s budget proposal includes a suggested $300 million cut to PEPFAR.
Bush went on, citing the lifesaving potential of PEPFAR:
‘It is clear that the generosity of the American people has had a huge impact — one that reflects the view that all lives are precious, and to whom much is given, much is required. This lifesaving work also has a practical purpose for Americans. Societies mired in disease breed hopelessness and despair, leaving people ripe for recruitment by extremists. When we confront suffering — when we save lives — we breathe hope into devastated populations, strengthen and stabilize society, and make our country and the world safer.’
The Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership with Bush’s organization, the George W. Bush Foundation, has helped train healthcare workers in Africa as well as screen women for breast and cervical cancers.
He writes: “Since leaving the White House, Laura and I have been heartbroken to learn that because women with HIV are more likely to have cervical cancer, people who had been saved from AIDS were needlessly dying from another treatable, preventable disease. So at the Bush Institute, we formed this global public-private partnership to fight women’s cancers.”
Over the past six years, through Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, over 370,000 women were screened for cervical cancer and 24,000 for breast cancer. Over 119,000 young women and girls were vaccinated against HPV and approximately 1,000 healthcare workers trained to combat such illnesses.
Read the full op-ed here.
Feature Image via Getty Images.