23 April 2018

Southern Africa: Former U.S. Presidents to Visit Lesotho

Photo: The White House
Former U.S. presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (file photo).

Three former presidents of the United States, Bill Clinton, George Walker Bush and Barrack Obama are due in the country in July for a policy dialogue which is expected to lead to the construction of a facility for the treatment of cancer patients in the country.

The trio are expected to accompany their spouses, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama to the conference which will hosted by the First Lady, 'Maesaiah Thabane.

This was revealed by the Minister of Health, Nkaku Kabi, in an interview with the Lesotho Times this week.

"The former USA presidents Mr Bush, Mr Clinton and Mr Obama will be here in July," Mr Kabi said.

"They have confirmed that they will accompany their wives to attend the first ladies' alliance conference which will be hosted by our First Lady, Ms Thabane."

Mr Kabi said among other things, the July conference will discuss how Lesotho can establish a sustainable cancer centre.

Mr Clinton is one of the key members of the Clinton Foundation governing board, and his wife also served as key member from 2013 to 2015.

The non-governmental organisation works with strategic partners to confront public health crises such as cancer, HIV and AIDS, the opioid epidemic, heart disease, diabetes, childhood obesity and combating the effects of climate change through clean and renewable energy efforts.

Ms Bush founded the Laura Bush Institute for Women's Health in 2007. The institute is positioned to develop research and educational programmes based on populations whose health issues are traditionally under-recognised or unknown such as rural populations, minorities and the elderly.

As the first lady, Ms Obama focused on social issues such as poverty, healthy living and education. She also focused on supporting military families, helping working women balance their careers and family lives.

Meanwhile, the First Lady's Public Relations Manager, Silas Monyatsi, would neither deny nor confirm the former USA presidents' visit.

"The minister is my superior and is privy to more important information than I am. Without contradicting what he said, the only issue I know is that the three former USA Presidents are expected to come with their spouses to attend the First Ladies' conference in July but I have not received confirmation of their attendance. I might not be aware that they have confirmed because as a servant I take my mandate from my superiors and have not received anything in that regard," Mr Monyatsi said.

Mr Clinton has previously visited Lesotho in July 2005 where he officiated at the official opening of a pediatric HIV and AIDS clinic at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Maseru which was established with the help of the Clinton Foundation.

He also reviewed the government's progress in the expansion of access to HIV and AIDS care and treatment after the Clinton Foundation helped in the launching of the public antiretroviral treatment program in 2004.

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