Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Lambaréné Declaration and Gabonese Albert Schweitzer Award

By Esther Nakkazi

Over 350 participants gathered in Libreville and in Lambaréné for two days, 6-7 July, to map out a concrete roadmap to efficiently tackle the Triple Epidemic - HIV, Malaria, and Tuberculosis.

The dignitaries including Nobel Prize laureates, Albert Schweitzer’s descendants, experts in science and medicine as well as in social sciences, NGO, private sector players and representatives of the civil society also celebrated Albert Schweitzer and his work.

The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, which he created, had its Centennial Celebration. Schweitzer’s philosophy was based on the ‘Reverence of life’.

Ali Bongo Ondimba, the President of the Gabonese Republic described Albert Schweitzer as part of the Gabonese history and said they were determined to pursue this work further.

He also emphasized on the necessity for increased usage of technologies to enhance efficiency in patient care and reaffirmed his will to make Gabon a regional hub dedicated to mother and child healthcare.

The Lambaréné Declaration was also created, which commits to the creation of the “Lambaréné declaration” coordination and follow-up structure, under the authority of a multinational and trans-disciplinary experts counsel.

The participants at the symposium also committed to the creation of three permanent Task Forces on trans-disciplinary solutions research; training programs for healthcare and field professionals; and research support in Africa.

As well as the creation of a new ongoing training network, reinforcement of African and International Research and the launch of a digital platform, to enable communication between all parties and to offer visibility to all initiatives conducted.

Participants went to visit the Lambaréné site where the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, created by the Nobel Prize Laureate at the beginning of the 20th Century, is still operating. It is now one of the leading regional centers (research, patient care, prevention, child birth and maternity).

Ali Bongo also announced the creation of the International Albert Schweitzer Award, to commemorate the Doctor, reminding that “if Schweitzer had Gabon at the heart of his history, Gabon holds Schweitzer close to its heart”.

Granted with US$ 250.000, it will reward the work of an individual or a team, able to support a sustainable cross-disciplinary approach to fight against the Triple Epidemic, in Africa.

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