Earlier this month in Washington, DC, the Constituency for Africa (CFA) announced the creation of the Africa Healthcare Infrastructure Committee and held its first event, the Africa Healthcare Infrastructure Brainstorm and Forum. Led by CFA Founder & President Melvin Foote, it brought together renowned healthcare and medical professionals, corporate executives, and high-ranking dignitaries to map out ways to help build a sustainable healthcare infrastructure for Africa.
As a former U.S. Assistant Surgeon General and Interim Chair of the CFA, I was proud to be part of this groundbreaking forum – and eager to explain why we need to act quickly and forcefully.
Action is needed now because we know that as soon as a crisis abates – and the Ebola crisis is indeed fading – the media and public will stop paying attention. Sadly, many of the promised contributions will not materialize, even when the promises were made by countries. We also know, unfortunately, that the next epidemic is only a matter of time. With globalization, it won’t take long for the next epidemic to reach our shores, while concurrently continuing to wreak havoc in Africa itself.
Clearly, Africa’s fight is the world’s fight and just as clearly, we need to act now. CFA and the Diaspora are in a position to help this happen – and that is the backdrop for the historic event in Washington that I was privileged to help lead.
It began with a keynote address by award-winning actor and social entrepreneur Jeffrey C. Wright, who is also Vice Chairman of Taia Lion Resources, Chairman of Taia Peace Foundation and Co-Founder of the Ebola Survival Fund. Other prestigious speakers included Robert Mallet (President, Accordia Global Health Foundation), Jessica Rookwood (President of International Health Advisors), 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 Gregory Simpkins (Senior Director, U.S. House of Representatives Sub-committee on Africa), and five respondents, including 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 Raymond C. Dabney (Chairman of the Board of Directors, Cannabis Science Inc., and the Cannabis Science Research Foundation.)
The guests shared their vision and commitment to support long-term efforts to rebuild Africa’s healthcare infrastructure while emphasizing the urgency of reaching the goals of the Africa Healthcare Infrastructure Forum. All participants offered actionable insights, including education and training to replace workers lost in the devastating epidemics of HIV/AIDS and Ebola, revitalization of agriculture and exploring ways to attract corporate investment to consider Africa for agricultural production and drug manufacturing/distribution.
Ebola proved to the world that improving healthcare in Africa is crucial. The CFA Africa Healthcare Infrastructure Committee is an important step in doing just that. For more information on how to participate and contribute, please visit www.cfa-network.org.
About the author
Dr. Roscoe M. Moore, Jr., D.V.M., Ph.D., D.Sc., is the Interim Chair of the Constituency for Africa and Special Senior Advisor on the Cannabis Science Scientific Advisory Board. He was a career officer in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service before entering the U.S. National Institutes of Health and rising to the rank of Assistant United States Surgeon General, serving three presidents: George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He also served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was the principal liaison between the HHS and Ministries of Health in Africa regarding the development of infrastructure and technical support for the delivery of preventive and curative health needs for the continent.