Jill Biden Focuses on Gender Equality in Africa, Not Ebola

Image: Jill Biden Focuses on Gender Equality in Africa, Not Ebola Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden. (Pete Marovich/Stringer/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 05 Aug 2014 10:36 AM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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On Monday, the White House posted the highlights of Dr. Jill Biden's recent trip to Zambia, Sierra Leone and the Congo, which included touring hospitals, schools and meeting with government officials to talk about gender equality and sexual-based violence.

Despite having claimed more than 500 lives to date, Biden didn't address the current outbreak of Ebola.

"The areas Dr. Biden focused on during her trip will be on display this week when the largest gathering of African heads of state and government come together in Washington, D.C. for the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit," wrote Sheila Nix, chief of staff to the second lady.

According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization, there were 468 cases and 255 deaths from Ebola in Liberia. In Sierra Leone, there have been 646 reported cases and 273 deaths.

Nor was there any mention of the deadly disease in the YouTube video which accompanied the Aug. 4 post. One of the highlights, according to the video, was Biden's visit to Panzi hospital in the Congo, to talk about how the medical staff was helping the women and children of sexual-based violence. But no mention of efforts to contain Ebola.

The one occasion Mrs. Biden did mention the Ebola virus was in Sierra Leone where she began one speech by noting that "our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and families of those affected by the Ebola virus," The Washington Times reported.

Vice President Biden's wife was in Africa from June 30 to July 7.

On her first stop in Zambia, Biden posted a July 2 update laying out her agenda for the three-country African tour.

"Upon arrival, Dr. Biden met with Zambia’s Second Lady, Dr. Charlotte Harland Scott, to discuss the major issues affecting women in the country, with particular attention to education, gender-based violence, health, and economic empowerment. They were joined by government officials to discuss activities that the local ministries are carrying out to empower women and girls."

While visiting the Shalom Community School in Zambia, Biden again focused her message on how "U.S. programs and priorities in education, health, and women’s empowerment."

Biden's first mention on social media about Ebola came in an Aug. 2 post in which she tweeted a CNN story about the "Amazing Emory med team step up to care for patients w/ Ebola virus. Thoughts & prayers for victims & families." The post came a month after her return to the United States.

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