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Cablegate: Letter From President Obbasanjo to President Bush

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

080712Z Oct 04

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001714

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W DAN EPSTEIN, AF/EX

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV NI
SUBJECT: LETTER FROM PRESIDENT OBBASANJO TO PRESIDENT BUSH
RE PEPFAR


1. On October 5, 2004 Ambassador received a letter from
the President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo dated October
4, 2004 to be transmitted to U.S. President George W. Bush.
Original is being sent via unclassified pouch.

Begin Text:

His Excellency,
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, DC 20502
USA

Dear President,

It is with great pleasure that I am writing to introduce
you to the Pan African Health Foundation (PAHF), a new
international non-profit (501 (c) 3) initiative. PAHF
seeks to develop long-term sustainable solutions to the
very heavy and growing burden of infectious diseases in
Africa in a novel way. It is being supported by my
government, the Nigerian private sector and U.S. and other
foreign companies operating in Nigeria. I would be very
honoured if the US government participates in this critical
project as well. I have outlined below, for your
consideration, information about PAHF and its relevance to
the growing burden of disease in Africa, and how it fits
with the overall objective of your President's Embergency
Plan for AIDS relief (PEPFAR).

A major facilitator of disease spread throughout Africa is
unavailability or unaffordability of essential medical
supplies to prevent or treat theses diseases. In trying to
address this problem, and due to limited production
capacity in Africa, the traditional international aid
approach has been to donate these supplies, albeit on an ad
hoc basis. While this approach provides short-term
solutions, it falls short of the ideal situation in which
African countries become self-sufficient. PAHF's approach
moves toward this ideal by developing production facilities
for essential medical supplies within Africa.

PAHF's first project will be an Auto-disable (AD) syringe
factory in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Safe syringes are very
important, not only because injections are the most commed
medical procedure, numbering 16 billion each year, but also
because syringes are becoming increasingly critical in the
fight against HIV/AIDS, since they are used for
investigating and monitoring People Living with AIDS
(PLWA). The WHO estimates that nearly half of all syringes
are reused in Africa, causing 1.3 million early deaths, 26
million years of life lost, and leading to US$535 million
in direct medical costs. In Nigeria, it is estimated that
ten per cent of all new HIV/AIDS are caused from blood
sources, including unsafe injections. AD syringes prevent
the dangerous re-use of syringes by ensuring that each
syringe can only be used once. The Port Harcourt syringe
factory will produce 135 million syringes each year,
providing safe injections and immunizations for our
children.

As you know, due to Nigeria's limited budget for public
spending, we directly support very few non-profit
organizations. However, PAHF's approach differs greatly
from traditional charity work and is very much in line with
our own development objectives. We also believe that PAHF
will bring large and lasting benefits to the Port Harcourt
community, and Nigeria as a whole. We are, therefore,
supporting PAHF with a donation of US$1.5million. It is
our hope that this project can usher in a new standard for
development assistance.

It is my great hope that you will consider joining us in
this important initiative by dedicating funds from your
PEPFAR initiative for this project. As we welcome the
expanded treatment of PLAWA made possible by your
compassionate initiation of PEPFAR, it has become very
important to ensure that syringes used in monitoring PLWA
progress are AD syringes, in order that this deadly
pandemic is not worsened through the dangerous reuse of
syringes. PAHF's Ad Syringe Project thus relates to your
PEPFAR initiative in a very direct and timely manner, since
it will help satisfy the increased need for safe syringes.

Please kindly note that your government's contribution,
either directly, or through a matching funds basis, will
greatly expedite PAHF's ability to raise the US$20 million
necessary for the AD syringe project. I look forward to
further discussing your potential involvement. Please do
not hesitate to contact me for more information about PAHF
and its important role.

God bless you.

Yours sincerely,
/s/
Olusegun Obasanjo
END TEXT.

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