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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                            (Abuja, Nigeria)
For Immediate Release                                     August 27,2000


     The United States and Nigeria:   Joining Forces to Fight AIDS
                        And Infectious Diseases

Today, at the National Center for Women Development in Abuja, Nigeria, President Clinton announced more than $20 million to support President Obasanjo's aggressive campaigns against malaria, polio and HIV/AIDS, and recognized President Obasanjo's extraordinary efforts to mobilize other African leaders in these battles.

President Clinton and President Obasanjo pledged to join forces to fight HIV/AIDS and other devastating diseases. Joined by youth groups, people living with AIDS, religious leaders, business leaders, unions, women's groups, and the military, Presidents Clinton and Obasanjo reinforced the need for leadership, resources and action by all segments of society to combat HIV/AIDS. The two leaders highlighted and praised the efforts of Nigeria's non-governmental organizations, including the Society of Women Against AIDS in Nigeria, the Muslim Sisters Organization and the Nigerian Network of People Living with AIDS

The Clinton-Gore Administration's commitments to Nigeria include: -- $9.4 million in FY 2000 for HIV/AIDS prevention and care, including care of orphans;
-- $8.7 million in FY 2000 for polio eradication to support Nigeria's participation in Africa's largest-ever coordinated public health initiative
-- the vaccination of every child under age five in 17 West and Central African countries;
-- $2 million in FY 2000 for a new public-private partnership to produce insecticide-treated bednets to prevent malaria; -- $500,000 in the FY 2001 budget request for a Department of Labor program to initiate workplace-based HIV/AIDS education and prevention; and
-- A new Department of Defense effort to assist with HIV/AIDS prevention, training, and education of Nigerian defense forces.

These announcements build on the Clinton-Gore Administration's aggressive response to global disease challenges, including the launching of the LIFE Initiative (Leadership and Investment in Fighting an Epidemic) to combat HIV/AIDS.

Facts on HIV/AIDS and other Infectious Diseases in Developing Countries: -- Last year, AIDS killed 2.8 million people worldwide and is now the single leading cause of death in Africa; an estimated 5.4 % of Nigerians -- 2.6 million people -- are currently infected with AIDS; -- Thirteen million sub-Saharan African children -- 1.4 million in Nigeria -- have now lost one or both of their parents to AIDS. -- Over 8 million children die each year of illnesses like malaria, TB, and diarrheal diseases -- more than 3 million of these deaths could be prevented by existing vaccines.
-- Malaria is the leading killer of children in Africa, taking more than 1 million lives each year. Malaria costs Africa more than $12 billion annually.
-- Polio has been eradicated from much of the world; however, more than 20 countries still report the disease. Last year there were 6000 new cases, nearly 1000 in Nigeria alone. -- Immunization is one of the most cost effective health interventions. It costs only $15 to immunize a child, yet in developing countries, children remain 10 times more likely to die of a vaccine preventable disease than those in the industrialized world. Twenty percent of children worldwide lack access to basic immunization services.

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