( dpa ) - US President George W Bush called for Congress to double the money going to a programme combatting HIV/AIDS and malaria in Africa.
Bush proposed a 30-billion-dollar programme over five years to combat the diseases ahead of a planned trip to the continent next month.
Bush first launched his five-year, 15-billion-dollar Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in 2003, and said that the programme had so far helped change behaviour and treated 1.4 million people.
"We are working to cut by half the number of malaria-related deaths in 15 African nations," Bush said in his annual State of the Union address. "We can bring healing and hope to many more."
He called on Congress to support a new food-aid plan that would purchase produce directly from farmers in developing nations. The programme would "build up local agriculture and help break the cycle of famine."
Bush will travel next month to Africa on a five-nation tour to review progress under the AIDS-malaria programme and to encourage democratic development. Bush is to make stops in Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia during the February 15-21 trip.