It is heart-wrenching to save a woman from AIDS, only to watch her die from cervical cancer, which is more prevalent in women with HIV. So Laura and I, along with the Bush Institute and partners from the public and private sectors, started Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon to save women from breast and cervical cancer, two of the leading causes of cancer death in Africa. Like PEPFAR, the success of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon depends on a broad alliance of private companies, nonprofit organizations and governments. The Bush Institute is working with the Obama administration, UNAIDS, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and private-sector partners. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a consistent champion of this effort.
We launched Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon in Lusaka, Zambia, in December 2011 and returned to Africa this month to expand the program to Botswana. During our trip, Laura and I went back to Zambia and spent four days helping refurbish a women’s health clinic in Kabwe, two hours north of the capital. As soon as we cut the ribbon, the clinic started screening women who had lined up to be tested for cervical cancer. It was a joy to see the relief on the first patient’s face when she left with a clean bill of health. And it is heartening to know that those diagnosed with early signs of cancer will have access to treatment and a good chance of beating it.