Saturday, December 20, 2008

Girl Power

New York (Tadias) - U.S. Doctors for Africa (USDFA) and “African Synergy”, an organization founded by African First Ladies, are convening their first joint health summit entitled “Leadership for Health” at the RAND Corporation in Los Angeles. The two-day summit in April 2009 will focus on HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and girls’ education, as Africa’s First Ladies seek to forge new partnerships with U.S.-based agencies and foundations to tackle the continent’s health crisis.

Over 20 African First Ladies are expected to assemble for their first-ever U.S.-based health summit on April 20-21, 2009, and will be hosted by USDFA, a California based non-profit organization, founded by social entrepreneur Ted Alemayuhu (pictured above).

“These First Ladies recognize their powerful position as role models, spokeswomen and advocates for their people,” says Ted Alemayhu, Founder and Chairman of USDFA. “Through collaborations with our organization and the summit’s other partners, we believe they can continue to inspire and work towards even greater change in their countries.”

The expected dignitaries hail from member countries of “African Synergy”, a health initiative alliance made up of 22 African First Ladies, established in 2002. Participating nations include: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Maurice, Namibia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Central African Republic, Senegal, Sudan, Chad, and Togo.

The April 2009 summit will engage the First Ladies in professional skills-building workshops, identify top priorities for the coming year, highlight key partners on the ground, and name actionable steps towards achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals related to maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS and education.

“This is probably one of the most empowering initiatives we have ever been involved in,” says Mr. Alemayhu. “What is exciting about this particular partnership is that the entire movement is initiated and mobilized by the First Ladies themselves. USDFA and African Synergy share the common belief that healthcare is a basic human right, and recognize that a healthy population is essential for growth, development, and prosperity in every society and this is a great testimony, commitment, and dedication that needs to be encouraged and supported by all stake-holders around the world.”

The closed door VIP summit is being organized by USDFA in collaboration with the RAND corporation, UCLA, ONE, the Vital Voices Global Partnership and White Ribbon Alliance, as well as General Electric and Procter & Gamble, which are listed as sponsors.

Invited guests include former U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton, Sarah Brown (First Lady of UK), and Maria Shriver (First Lady of California) . The Gala event will be co-chaired by actress Jessica Alba.

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