February 2015 CFAnetwork; The Constituency for Africa (CFA) convened their first Africa Healthcare Infrastructure Forum on February 6 held at the Africa Union Mission in Washington, DC. The ground-breaking forum was led by CFA Founder & President, Melvin Foote, brought together world-renowned healthcare and medical professionals, corporate executives and high-ranking dignitaries to brainstorm solutions for building a sustainable healthcare infrastructure for the countries across Africa.
The historic event began with a Keynote address by award-winning actor and social entrepreneur, Jeffrey C. Wright. As Vice Chairman of Taia Lion Resources, Chairman of Taia Peace Foundation and Co-Founder of the Ebola Survival Fund, Mr. Wright spoke passionately and intimately about the devastation of the Ebola epidemic on healthcare services in Africa and, recalling Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, he called for a new approach borrowing from the model used in the Marshall Plan, which worked in Europe after the second world war.
“I think that we were highly successful in bringing together a range of stakeholders from the US government, the African Diplomatic Corps, the private sector, the NGO community and most importantly, the African Diaspora, said Melvin Foote, Founder & President of the CFA since 1995. “To have actor and social entrepreneur Jeffrey Wright, to set the tone, was also a major highlight of this event. It is rare to have such a high-profiled individual also showcase his interest in the health and welfare of Africa and of African people”!
Other prestigious speakers on the program included Mr. Robert Mallet (President Accordia Global Health Foundation), Ms. Jessica Rookwood (President of International Health Advisors), Mr. Donald Shriber (Deputy Director for Policy and Communication, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Dr. Pernessa Seele (Founder and CEO, The Balm in Gilead, Inc) and Mr. Gregory Simpkins (Senior Director, US House of Representatives, Sub-committee on Africa), and 5 respondents, including Ms. Julia Royall (Global Health Information Specialist), Dr. Gloria B. Herndon (CEO GB Herndon & Associates), Dr. Julius Garvey (Garvey vascular Specialists), Dr. Arikana Chihombori (Chair, AU African Diaspora Health Initiative) and Mr. Raymond C. Dabney (Chairman Board of Directors, Cannabis Science Inc., and the Cannabis Science Research Foundation.
The urgent goals of the Africa Healthcare Infrastructure Forum was clearly communicated on the need to help build a sustainable healthcare infrastructure in Africa. According to Foote, the immediate need has never been stronger following years of battling HIV/AIDS and the more recent Ebola crisis which killed thousands and totally wrecked economies in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
“It is important that CFA organizes itself to ensure that promises made are kept,” says Foote. “We need to keep the focus of stake-holding organizations and institutions so they don’t lose site of the daunting challenges facing Africa and the African people”.
About Constituency for Africa
The Constituency for Africa (CFA) established itself as one of the leading organizations in the United States committed to educating and mobilizing the U.S. public on matters pertaining to Africa and the African Diaspora. The CFA has done much to increase the level of cooperation and coordination among a broad-based coalition of international organizations, businesses and individuals committed to the progress, development, and empowerment of Africa and African people. CFA’s stellar achievement in advocacy education and information dissemination has led to a greater understanding and awareness of Africa among all groups. They have pioneered a highly touted series of Town Hall Meetings on Africa, which have taken place across the United States to better understand African policy issues and to actively participate in the policy formulation process. CFA also organizes the Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series, held each year in September in Washington, D.C., which coincides with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference. The Series has continued to serve as a unique platform for linking the CBC members and their staff with African-focused organizations, African diplomats and government policy-makers, and the leadership of the grassroots community.