USDFA to Deploy Mobile Clinics to Ethiopia (Tadias Exclusive) – By Liben Eabisa, Tadias Exclusive
New York (Tadias) – The following is an exclusive interview with Ethiopian American social entrepreneur Ted Alemayuhu, Founder & Chairman of U.S. Doctors for Africa. His organization presented its 1st Annual New York Gala Benefit last fall, at Cipriani Wall Street (55 Wall Street), honoring extraordinary philanthropists, including Russell Simmons, Chairman & CEO of Rush Communications. (more…)
New York (Tadias) – The following is an exclusive interview with Ethiopian American social entrepreneur Ted Alemayuhu, Founder & Chairman of U.S. Doctors for Africa. His organization presented its 1st Annual New York Gala Benefit last fall, at Cipriani Wall Street (55 Wall Street), honoring extraordinary philanthropists, including Russell Simmons, Chairman & CEO of Rush Communications.
USDFA will hold a press conference next week in Washington DC in partnership with The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to introduce its Mobile Clinic initiative to the US Government and other international entities dealing with Africa’s health care issues. Ted Alemayuhu told Tadias: “I am happy to say that we are ahead of schedule and our first clinic will be on its way to Ethiopia soon.”
We spoke with Ted in Los Angeles and also had a chance to ask him about his views on the current U.S. elections.
Tadias: Ted, it’s great to have you back on Tadias.
Ted: Glad to be back! I’ve always admired the service that Tadias is providing to the Ethiopian Diaspora as well as Ethiopians back home.
Tadias: U.S. Doctors for Africa recently held a high profile gala here in New York at Cipriani on Wall Street, honoring extraordinary philanthropists, including Russell Simmons. How did that go?
Ted: It went very well. Being our first event in the New York area, we’ve exceeded our expectations. I was impressed by the great turn out and the overwhelming support we’ve received from the people as well as from the local and national media. Besides honoring extraordinary individuals such as Russell Simmons for their great community service and support of US Doctors For Africa, our guests were inspired by our Mobile Clinic program; the first of which to be deployed to Ethiopia soon.
Tadias: We understand that you plan to hold a press conference next week in Washington DC in partnership with The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. What announcements should we expect at the press conference?
Ted: Well, the main purpose of the press conference is to introduce our Mobile Clinic initiative to the US Government and other key stakeholders on Africa’s health care matters. During the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), we made a commitment to launch 200 mobile clinics to various countries across the African continent by the year 2020. I am happy to say that we are ahead of schedule and our first clinic will be on its way to Ethiopia soon.
Tadias: What is the mobile clinic initiative?
Ted: The Mobile clinic initiative is a unique approach to the growing demand for health care delivery and services across the African continent. As most people know, that over 85% of Africa’s population live in “rural” areas – far from big cities where most health care institutions and providers are based. Unfortunately, the majority of the people who are dying of “treatable” and “preventable” diseases are those who live in a rural settings. Our hope is that by introducing mobile clinics as a key tool in the health care delivery effort, we expect to play a life-saving role by bringing health care where the people live.
Tadias: USDFA has other projects in several African countries, including Ethiopia. Can you tell us about your projects, besides the mobile clinic initiative?
Ted: Absolutely. We are engaged in several countries in Africa as well as here in the United States where we continue our effort to provide health care services to the people affected by hurricane Katrine and Rita.
As far as in Africa, we continue to expand our services to more countries. Currently, we are developing projects in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, and in South Africa.
Ethiopia is our first partner country on the mobile clinic initiative. I am impressed by the overwhelming support from the ministry of health as well as other health officials in the country.
Tadias: We have learned that you will be a keynote speaker at this year’s Annual Health Disparities Conference at Columbia University here in New York on March 7th, 2008. Can you give us details for our readers who might be interested in attending the event?
Ted: Sure. First and for most, It is a great honor and privilege to be invited by Columbia University to be a keynote speaker. The event is being hosted by the “Teachers college” at the university and every year they host a similar conference highlighting global health. This year the focus is Africa and they have chosen USDFA to be a key highlight of the conference. I plan to present the organization’s mission and vision as well as current and upcoming projects…particularly, our mobile clinic initiative. The conference is open to the public – for more info they can go to Teachers college, Columbia University, website.
Tadias: Does USDFA have any plans to endorse a candidate in the current presidential election?
Ted: The organization have no desire to participate in any political activities. Although we wish the best of luck to all candidates (Democrats and Republicans), we remain focused on our work.
Tadias: This question is not intended to you as Chairman of USDFA, but as an individual, as an Ethiopian American. How do you feel about this historic election?
Ted: Well, it is rather impressive and encouraging as well. It is also exciting to see a woman and an African candidates going head to head for the presidency. Regardless of who wins the party nomination, it is history in the making.
Tadias: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Ted: Well, yes. I would like to simply encourage everyone to do what they can in helping our beloved country – Ethiopia!
Tadias: Thank you, Ted. Good Luck.