First Ladies of Africa Meet in LA to Discuss Women’s Health
A group of African first ladies on Monday kicked off a two-day meeting in Los Angeles to discuss U.S. partnerships to help improve health and education for women and girls in Africa, including efforts to "supply clean water, fight malaria and combat AIDS," Reuters/Yahoo reports (Serjeant, Reuters/Yahoo, 4/20).
The Leadership for Health event was organized by African Synergy Against AIDS, a US nonprofit made up of 22 African first ladies and US Doctors for Africa, for the first ladies to meet with health experts, nonprofit groups and celebrities and "highlight the vital role of women in education and healthcare in the world's poorest continent" (Knoll, Los Angles Times, LANow, 4/20). The summit will also analyze the implementation state of initiatives recommended during previous summits (Angola Press/AllAfrica.com, 4/20).
According to a 2006 United Nations Development Program report, women living in sub-Saharan Africa comprise 57 percent of the region's HIV infections, and young women in the region are three times more likely to become infected then men, Reuters reports (Reuters, 4/20).
Angola Press/AllAfrica.com reports that first ladies from Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Republic of Congo, Gambia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia have confirmed their presence at the event (Angola Press/AllAfrica.com, 4/20).
Ted Alemayhu, founder of the Los Angeles-based U.S. Doctors for Africa, said at a news conference: "Nowhere before in the United States has such a large group of African first ladies come together to talk as one" (Reuters, 4/20).
NPR on Tuesday interviewed Sierra Leone's first lady, Sia Koroma, to discuss the health issues facing her country and her involvement in the health summit. According to the United Nations, the western African country of Sierra Leone has the worst mortality rate in the world, NPR reports (Montagne, NPR, 4/21).