Page last updated at 19:35 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 20:35 UK

Obama seeks global health boost

Aids patient in Senegal
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the worst Aids-affected region of the world

US President Obama's administration has announced a $63bn health plan to fight Aids and other illnesses overseas.

If approved by Congress the plan would be an "extraordinary step to save the lives of men, women and children," said Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew.

The six year initiative would continue the work overseen by President Bush to combat HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria in the developing world.

It would also fund pre- and post-natal care and child health initiatives.

The "challenge is to take the things we've learned... and build on it", Mr Lew added.

"We cannot simply confront individual preventable illnesses in isolation. The world is interconnected, and that demands an integrated approach to global health," President Obama said in a statement.

"We have a responsibility to protect the health of our people, while saving lives, reducing suffering, and supporting the health and dignity of people everywhere," the statement continued.

"America can make a significant difference in meeting these challenges and that is why my administration is committed to act."

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