Powell Embarks on Eight-Day Tour of Africa to Address Strategies to Tackle HIV/AIDS
Secretary of State Colin Powell tomorrow embarks on an eight-day trip to Africa, where he will speak to political leaders about strategies to combat the AIDS epidemic, the Washington Times reports. The trip is scheduled to begin in Mali, where Powell will meet with West African leaders, including President Alpha Oumar Conare, head of the Economic Organization of West African States, which runs a peacekeeping operation in Sierra Leone. In Mali, Powell will "observe" the country's efforts to prevent the spread of HIV, such as a joint project with NIH. Powell then heads to South Africa, Kenya and Uganda, where he will review trials of new AIDS vaccines (Barber, Washington Times, 5/21). Powell's trip marks the earliest visit made to the continent during a secretary of state's tenure (Strobel, Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/21). Powell said, "I have a personal interest because I am an African-American. But beyond that, perhaps the greatest disaster on earth is unfolding in Africa: AIDS. So it seemed to me that I should go to Africa early on" (Washington Times, 5/21). Susan Rice, assistant secretary of state for Africa in the former Clinton administration, said Powell's trip is a "welcome sign" that the Bush administration is "at least investing in symbolism and trying to give the impression that Africa is of significance to them," adding, "The real question will be whether they go beyond symbolism to substance" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/21).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.