Above: Ted Alemayhu, pictured here addressing the African
First Ladies Health Summit in Los Angeles last Spring, was
honored in Cameroon last week. (Courtesy photo).
By Tadias Staff
Published: Saturday, January 2, 2010
New York (Tadias) – Ted Alemayhu, Founder and Chairman of U.S. Doctors for Africa (USDFA), was honored in Cameroon last week for his organization’s work tackling Africa’s enormous health care problems.
Mr. Alemayhu, who convened the African First Ladies Health Summit in Los Angeles last Spring, says the acknowledgment of his service brings needed attention to USDFA’s work in Cameroon and other nations in Africa.
“The President and The First Lady of Cameroon were kind with their generous recognition of our efforts in bringing the highly needed medical manpower and other resources to the continent,” Mr. Alemayhu told Tadias Magazine. “The recognition would simply raise the level of attention and awareness of the needs for organizations like U.S. Doctors for Africa to be more engaged in providing much needed medical care and services to the people of Africa who continue to suffer from the lack of basic medical care.”
According to Mr. Alemayhu USDFA is currently working with three local organizations in the country: The African Synergy organization, the First Lady of Cameroon’s Foundation, and The Chantal Biya Foundation. “All of the organizations are our strategic partners in Cameroon and their missions are directed to providing access to health care to under-served communities, mainly targeting women and children,” he said. “U.S. Doctors for Africa brings volunteer medical manpower as well as medical supplies and equipments to further assist several clinics that are currently being managed by these organizations. Currently we are working toward sending an estimated $500,000 Dollars worth of medical supplies and equipments to Cameroon.”
Mr. Alemayhu tells us that he has also traveled to his native country, Ethiopia, and that a medical project there may also be imminent.
“During my recent yet very brief trip to Ethiopia I’ve had the opportunity to meet with the Health Minister and other senior officials of the government. We’ve had some productive discussions in regards to USDFA’s possible new engagement in the country,” he said. “I will be back in Addis soon for further discussion and action plans. In the past, USDFA has developed several successful medical missions to Ethiopia, and we hope to expand on our efforts in accordance with the country’s health plan and strategic approach.”
Asked about what he considers to be the biggest health care challenge facing the African continent today, Mr. Alemayhu is quick to answer that lack of trained medical professionals is the number one chronic problem. “Unfortunately, and despite the great effort that is underway by several thousand organizations across the continent, the biggest challenge continues to be the extreme shortage of medical manpower,” he points out. “According to some credible sources, the ratio of doctors per population in most African countries remains 1 doctor per 100,000 people. This staggering and disturbing statistic further complicates the situation despite the fact that more vaccines and other medical supplies are being provided to the continent. Our effort is not only to bring in U.S. trained volunteer medical personnel to the continent but to also help train more local health care providers as well.”
And what is he looking forward to in 2010? “We plan to host the second-annual African First Ladies Health Summit in 2010,” Mr. Alemayhu said during an interview conducted on New Year’s day. “However, it will be held in Africa. At this time we are considering several possible hosting countries.”
Video: Ted Alemayhu in Cameroon
Ted Alemayhu’s Keynote at Columbia University (NYC)