Thu, Oct 04, 2018 - Page 6 News List

US first lady starts tour of Africa at Ghanaian hospital

AP, ACCRA

US first lady Melania Trump on Tuesday opened her first big solo international trip with a wave, a smile and a baby in her arms, aiming to promote child welfare during a five-day tour of Africa.

She arrived in Ghana after an overnight flight from Washington and quickly made her way to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital.

Trump saw how babies are weighed — they are placed in sacks that are then hung from a hook attached to a scale. She also watched a nurse demonstrate how vitamins are administered to babies by mouth and toured the neonatal intensive care unit.

Mothers at the hospital for her visit received gifts of teddy bears nestled in white baby blankets. The items carried the logo of “Be Best,” the child well-being initiative Trump launched in May last years.

With the Africa visit, the US first lady aims to take “Be Best” and its focus on opioid abuse and online behavior to an international audience.

She also had a private tea with Ghanaian first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo and exchanged gifts: a Chippendale silver tray embossed with an image of the White House inside a leather case signed “First Lady Melania Trump” for Akufo-Addo, and Kente cloth and artifacts for Trump, her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said.

The first ladies met privately for about a half-hour at Jubilee House, Ghana’s presidential palace.

Trump’s visit opened in low-key fashion. Several Ghanaians interviewed said they knew little about it.

“Did you say [US] President [Donald] Trump’s wife just arrived in Accra?” street vendor Awo Yeboah asked. “I don’t think I have ever heard her name, Melania.”

Other locals said they knew about the visit, but did not know what Melania Trump was doing.

Donald Trump on Tuesday told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House that he saw television footage of her landing in Africa.

“It was beautiful,” he said. “She’s really doing a great job as first lady.”

Melania Trump also plans to visit Malawi, Kenya and Egypt.

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