The African First
Ladies’ Health Summit is underway in Los Angeles, California. It will wrap up
tomorrow. The summit has brought together first ladies from a number of African
countries to address healthcare and girls’ education.
It was organized by two
non-profit groups, the US doctors for Africa and Africa synergy against aids
and suffering. The latter was formed by 22 African first ladies in 2002 in
Yaoundé Cameroon to fight against HIV/AIDS and other social challenges the
Africa continent faces.
Jean Stephane Biatcha is the executive
secretary of the Yaoundé-based Africa synergy against aids and suffering. From Los
Angeles he told
VOA’s Douglas Mpuga that the summit whose
theme is leadership for health is focusing on the role of the first ladies in
assisting their governments in the fight
against all the problems concerning
health and poverty.
He said the summit is well attended with
first ladies who couldn’t attend sending high powered delegation. “Almost 23
African countries are represented,” he noted.
“It is not closed to the public. It’s because
there are a lot of people who wanted to attend but we could only cater for so
many given the capacity of the premises we have”, he said in response to
concerns that the summit was private and closed to the public.
Biatcha said this was the first the summit is
being held in the United States. “It’s an implementation of an agreement we
signed with the US doctors for Africa in July last year for first ladies to
raise awareness in the United States”
The Executive Secretary pointed out that most
of the work of Africa first ladies is based on advocacy and sensitization. “The
event in Los Angeles provides an opportunity for doing exactly that”. The first
ladies also play an important role in their home countries where they support
the national political strategies, especially in the areas of health and social
He hailed their (first ladies) role in social
activities and their contribution to the improvement of health and social
wellbeing through sensitization campaigns.
US doctors for Africa delivers teams of
healthcare professionals to resource-poor regions in Africa providing medical
care, strategic planning, education, training, and other health-related