Fill out the brief form below for access to the free report.
When I was thirteen I dreamt of being a professional ballerina; I danced every day and read Dance Magazine during math class at school. At that age, I believed, without question, that being a dancer was my path, however, life takes unexpected turns. When I started as a dance major at New York University, I never imagined I would one day transfer to Southern Methodist University to study advertising and photography. And never in my wildest dreams, did I think that I would join the George W. Bush Institute on a service trip to help combat cervical cancer in Livingstone, Zambia.
In Smonga, outside of Livingstone, I met Helen, a thirteen year old girl with dreams of her own - to one day become a nurse. Walking barefoot beside me, she proudly showed me her home, that lacks electricity and running water. In perfect English, her second language, she told me how she loves her mother, her younger siblings, soccer and school. She studies each night by candle light, because she believes that hard work will let her realize her goal of becoming a nurse.
Everyone has a dream of who they will become, but few ever imagine that the dream may one day end in the nightmare of being told that they have cervical cancer. For many women in Zambia, this is reality.
There are an estimated 493,000 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed each year worldwide and Zambia has the second highest number of cases. These women are faced with fighting a disease that could have been easily treated if caught at an early stage. Cervical cancer can be detected with a simple test that involves placing a single drop of vinegar on the cervix. The test is easy, but giving Zambian women access to the test proves to be more difficult. Along with 3 other SMU students, one professor and two Bush Institute volunteers, I have been helping the Bush Institute and the Zambian government to renovate the Mosi-Oa-Tunya clinic in Livingstone which will screen women for cervical cancer. Zambian and American volunteers have been working side by side to make sure that women will not have to take the unexpected turn down the road of cervical cancer.
I never imagined that my first trip outside of the United States would be to Zambia to work and meet with such inspiring people like Helen. My hope for her is that her life will offer her opportunities she never imagined. I hope that she and her friends will be able to use clinics like Mosi-Oa-Tunya to be screened regularly for cervical cancer so that they can lead healthy, fulfilling lives, just like me.
Katie Bernet is a student at Southern Methodist University and is part of a small volunteer delegation selected to begin renovations on a cervical cancer clinic in Livingstone, Zambia.
14 Things to Know About the Life-Saving Work of PEPFAR on its 14th Anniversary
This weekend marks the 14th anniversary of PEPFAR, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which President George W. Bush signed into law on May 27, 2003 as part of the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003. Since then PEPFAR has saved nearly 12 million lives. Here’s a look at 14 interesting facts about PEPFAR, which has lead the progress in the global campaign to end AIDS. In 2003, at the signing of the PEPFAR legislation, less than 50,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa were on antiretroviral treatment (ART) for HIV/AIDS, now 11.5 million individuals are on ART due to PEPFAR. 99.5 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women are receiving ART, a more than 40 percent increase since the beginning of 2014. This has led to nearly 2 million babies being born HIV-free to infected mothers. Since the start of PEPFAR, new HIV Infections have declined 51 to 76 percent. Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) can reduce men&rs
President and Mrs. Bush's Visit to Namibia and Botswana in Photos
They delivered a message to Congress and all Americans: lives in Africa matter.
Building on America’s Leadership in Global Health
The new administration should stay the course as a strong leader in global health. This is a bipartisan effort, as both sides of the aisle have agreed on the importance of health care investments through successive Congresses and administrations, reflecting the priorities of the American people.
7 Things to Know about PEPFAR on World AIDS Day
Today marks World AIDS Day: a day to honor those lost, celebrate the global progress made in the fight against AIDS, and commit to put an end to the disease. In 2003, at the signing ceremony for the legislation that enacted the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), President George W. Bush said, “We believe in the value and dignity of every human life. In the face of preventable death and suffering, we have a moral duty to act, and we are acting.” Since then, PEPFAR has delivered life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART) to 11.5 million people, and nearly 2 million babies have been born HIV-free with PEPFAR support. PEPFAR’s success contributes to a coordinated global effort to end AIDS. UNAIDS reports that since 2000, 18.2 million people have access to treatment for HIV, new infections of HIV have decreased by over 1 million infections, and AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 1.4 million. There is real hope for endin