Pres. Bush Recalls the Words of CRS Zambia’s Bridget Chisenga


Bridget Chisenga. Photo by CRS

President Bush, in a speech this morning before leaving tomorrow for Africa with First Lady Laura Bush, made reference to a woman who made a profound impression on him: Bridget Chisenga, who works for CRS Zambia to promote adherence to antiretroviral therapy, the lifesaving medication for people living with HIV.

Bridget works for AIDSRelief, the CRS-led consortium that is funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Congress is currently considering legislation to reauthorize and expand PEPFAR for the next five years.

“Auntie Bridget,” as she is known to her co-workers and clients, spent several weeks in the fall here in the U.S. visiting schools and parishes and sharing her experiences of living with HIV and working with others with HIV. She joined President Bush for a World AIDS Day commemoration, and this morning, he recalled what she said that day:

Last November, I met a woman from Zambia named Bridget Chisenga. Bridget’s husband died of AIDS, and she expected to meet the same fate. Then she went to a clinic operated by Catholic Relief Services, funded by the American people. Today, Bridget is healthy. She has a job at the clinic, where she helps provide AIDS medicine to others. I want our fellow citizens to hear what she said: “This face is alive and vibrant because of your initiative. I would like to thank you.”

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