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Accordia Global Health Foundation Convenes Inaugural Infectious Diseases Summit
Date:3/13/2008

- Global leaders across for- and non-profit sectors gather to identify

'on-the-ground' solutions; Julie Gerberding, Anthony Fauci, Richard T. Clark are Keynotes -

WASHINGTON March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Accordia Global Health Foundation, formerly the Academic Alliance Foundation (AAF), today will convene an inaugural summit of global leaders in academia, government, NGOs and industry who have made major contributions to fighting infectious diseases. The summit is designed to identify innovative strategies to address infectious disease-related world health concerns.

In conjunction with summit activities, the organization will also officially announce its name change from AAF to Accordia Global Health Foundation, a decision made to better reflect the foundation's expanding mandate to build healthcare capacity in Africa through strong collaboration and partnerships.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Richard T. Clark, chairman, president and CEO, Merck & Company, Inc., will be featured speakers at the two-day summit in Washington, D.C., where participants will work to develop action plans that strengthen the abilities and skills of individuals and institutions in developing world regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, that have high rates of infectious disease.

"Despite investment of over $10 billion annually, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is still growing, and its impact on health in Africa impacts us all," said Dr. Hank McKinnell, Chairman of the Board, Accordia Global Health Foundation. "Global efforts to increase access to life-saving medications have made an impact, but we must push harder to find new and innovative approaches to building long-term capacity in Africa to fight infectious disease."

Given Accordia's collaborative, front-line approach to preparing and educating healthcare professionals in academic medical centers throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the organization is uniquely positioned to gather a cross-sector of global leaders to address infectious disease-related issues, including skills enablement, supply chain management, research and product development and prevention modalities.

Leaders from industry have been a particularly strong driving force in initiating the event and advancing opportunities to foster collaboration among key constituencies.

"How can we ensure a healthier Africa?" asks Richard T. Clark. "Real change will require vision, innovative thinking and new partnerships. The Accordia Infectious Diseases Summit provides an opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to discuss the critical healthcare issues facing the continent with key global leaders from academe, government and the non-profit community."

During the summit, participants will break into the following four working groups to identify workable solutions to various issues stemming from this health crisis:

Group 1: Skills Enablement and Academic Medical Centers

As health systems continue to evolve in response to new and existing challenges, capacity needs also continue to grow and change. The challenge is to scale-up management and leadership training to equip healthcare professionals with the necessary skills, experience and knowledge.

Academic medical centers, such as those in Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Uganda and Botswana may offer examples in best practices on how to accomplish these challenging goals.

Group 2: Global Health Supply Chain Management

Barriers in the planning, procurement, distribution and delivery of drugs and essential health products are acknowledged as significant contributors to performance outcomes. There is a need to look at innovative and partnership-driven supply chain models to overcome these barriers and ensure that populations have ready access to products that prevent and treat infectious diseases.

Group 3: Research and Product Development

Limited resources for research and development of infectious disease solutions need to be focused on prioritized problems closer to their source, guided by the enlightened agendas of those regions most at risk. This can be accomplished by changing traditional paradigms of product development and introducing new partners, collaborations and technologies.

Group 4: Prevention Modalities

There remains an absence of effective interventions focused on preventing the transmission of infectious diseases, in particular with respect to HIV and child exploitation, which is disturbingly prevalent in many areas of the world. There is a need to explore this and other new prevention modalities, including male circumcision, and to consider behavioral, legal and other innovative approaches to addressing these topics.

"Accordia summit participants are inspiring examples of leaders across all sectors who have stepped forward to confront the devastating effects of infectious disease in Africa," said Dr. Warner Greene, Director and Senior Investigator, Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, and President, Accordia Global Health Foundation. "We hope this summit will identify innovative and cooperative approaches for building and sustaining healthcare capacity in this region of the world."

About Accordia Global Health Foundation

Accordia Global Health Foundation, formerly the Academic Alliance Foundation, is a U.S. not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to overcome the burden of infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa by building healthcare capacity and strengthening academic medical institutions. Accordia was born out of unique partnership between senior North American academic physician-researchers in the field of infectious disease, their counterparts on the Faculty of Medicine at Uganda's famed Makerere University, and others motivated to find innovative solutions to combat infectious disease in sub-Saharan Africa and strengthen Africa for future generations. For more information visit the Accordia Global Health Foundation website: http://www.accordiafoundation.org.


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