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Laura Bush in Senegal for Anti-HIV/AIDS, Malaria Campaigns

The First Lady of the United States, Laura Bush arrived in the Senegalese capital of Dakar Monday at the start of a four-nation Africa tour to bolster the US government's anti AIDS and malaria strategies.

She was met at the airport by President Abdoulaye Wade's wife Viviane.

From Senegal she is due to travel to nearby Mali then Zambia and Mozambique during a five-day long trip to the continent which will also focus on education and women's empowerment.

She is due to visit US-funded 15 billion dollar projects under the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which was launched by President George W. Bush in 2003 and is due to expire in September 2008.

Bush last month asked Congress to set aside 30 billion dollars over five years to fight AIDS worldwide.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains by far the worst-affected region and is home to two-thirds of all people living with HIV.

In 2005 Bush launched a anti-malaria campaign aimed at funding pesticide spraying, handouts of bed nets and provision of anti-malarial drugs.

Malaria remains a leading killer worldwide, claiming more than one million lives every year, most of them in Africa.

The mosquito-borne illness is the number one cause of death in children under the age of five, causing one death every 30 seconds.


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