University Hosts Conference Featuring Activists from
the Front Lines of
Women and Children’s Health Issues
– March 4, 2013)
Africa today accounts for more than half of the maternal and child
deaths in the world, and Nigeria, with two percent of the world’s
population, currently has 10 percent of the world’s maternal deaths.
Ohio University will host several world-renowned scholar-activists
from the front lines fighting to promote women and children’s health
across the African continent during an upcoming international
conference, "Women and Children's Health in Africa: Clinical and
Social Perspectives." The conference aims to raise awareness of the
status of women’s and children’s health across the continent and
assess efforts to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health
for all women in Africa.
The keynote address for the conference, to be held
on Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30, in Irvine 194, will be
delivered by Edna Adan Ismail. Adan, who was featured in the PBS
documentary on women's global health, Half the Sky, is a
nurse and founder of the Edna Maternity Hospital in Somaliland. She
is dedicated to eliminating the custom of female circumcision in the
Horn of Africa region. A former first lady of Somalia, Adan served
as the first Minister of Foreign Affairs and later as Minister of
Health in the Republic of Somaliland.
The conference is sponsored by Ohio University’s College of Health
Sciences and Professions, the Heritage College of Osteopathic
Medicine, the Institute for the African Child, the Center for
International Studies and Athens Medical Associates.
“We sent word out to a number of prominent activists and scholars in
the fields of women and children’s health and were excited to learn
that so many of them could come to our campus at once. This is a
great opportunity for our students and the public to hear from
people who are working to change Africa’s health challenges and to
have them talk to each other,” said African Studies Director Steve
Howard, Ph.D., conference co-chair.
Other conference participants include Nafisa Bedri, Ph.D., of Ahfad
University for Women in Sudan, who works on eradicating female
circumcision and on community health in Sudan; Aggrey Otieno, recent
Rolex Award winner and OHIO alumnus who founded a maternal health
telemedicine center in one of Nairobi’s most notorious slums; and
Marape Marape, Ph.D., a physician and leading AIDS researcher who
heads the Research Division at the Botswana Baylor Children’s AIDS
clinic in Gaborone, Botswana. US-based scholars Crystal Patil,
Ph.D., University of Illinois, Ivy Pike, Ph.D., University of
Arizona and Alyson Young, Ph.D., University of Florida, will also
present talks on African women and children’s public health issues.
“Women and children in Africa suffer a disproportionate amount of
the global burden of disease. This conference is particularly
exciting because it brings together both researchers and change
leaders in the field of women and children's health. Through this
interaction we hope to stimulate evidence-based and creative
solutions for improving health for women and children in Africa,”
said conference co-chair Gillian Ice, Ph.D., director of Global
Health for the Health Sciences Center.
For further information about registration for the conference,
contact Steve Howard at