Monday, July 23, 2007

Clinton visits Zambia

Former US president Bill Clinton assessed the health care facilties in rural Zambia on his first visit to the country last Saturday. During the visit he toured a new drug distribution warehouse in Lusaka financed by his charitable foundation.

Since leaving office in 2001, Clinton has negotiated lower prices on AIDS drugs for poor countries in Africa and Asia, helping to extend tens of thousands of lives. The effort, however, is still hampered by overstretched facilities, stigma and an acute lack of skilled staff.

Zambia has put more than 93,000 HIV-positive people on anti-retroviral treatment over the last few years with help from the United States and other partners. But about 16 percent of the population is HIV-positive, and the country has a serious shortage of health care workers.

Clinton's first visit to Zambia was the third stop on an African tour that also took him to South Africa and Malawi. He was to fly to Tanzania on Sunday.

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