Former U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday made a visit to Botswana where he toured his signature aid project for Africa.
The 70-year-old said he hoped the current U.S. government would recognize the importance of the project in saving lives threatened by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Bush launched the PEPFAR project in 2003 during his first term in office as an emergency plan for AIDS relief.
PEPFAR is now the world’s largest provider of AIDS-fighting medicine and has widened its scope over the years to include provision of services for cervical cancer, which is linked to HIV infections in women.
U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed steep cuts in the budget for diplomacy and foreign aid but his administration has so far said it will “maintain current commitments and all current patient levels on HIV/AIDS treatment” under PEPFAR.
Bush was accompanied to Botswana by his wife Laura. The two visited a clinic that provides screening and treatments for cervical cancer.
“I hope our government when they analyse what works around the world will understand that PEPFAR has saved over 11 million lives,” he said.
“And while progress has been made we’ve got to continue to stay in this battle in order to save lives. Every human life matters. And I hope the people of America understand that through their generosity millions now live.”