Last night, Kalonji and I attended a wonderful benefit fundraising dinner on behalf of the African Legacies Foundation and the African Union-African Health Diaspora Health Initiative (AU-ADHI). We really didn’t have all the details of the event before we went, but we were pleasantly surprised.
The event was held in Gallatin, TN at the Africa House — a former plantation home that is now owned by Dr. Arikana Chihombori (aka Dr. C – pictured below in green), a physician based in Murfreesboro, TN and her husband, Dr. Nii Saban Quo. As soon as we started going up the very long driveway, I had to look the history of the home and quickly found a descriptive article from a Florida newspaper. The plantation used to have many slaves, and what a striking contrast to it’s current use as a meeting place for people of African descent.
The purpose of the evening was to raise awareness of the health care needs in Africa and overall awareness of the health disparities in hypertension, diabetes and stroke among African-ancestored individuals. The stories shared were incredibly moving and greatly illustrated how important it is to increase access to basic healthcare services. The AU-ADHI has a new initiative to promote Vital Signs — that we all need to know our numbers (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc) and that health care facilities in Africa all have ways to collect vital sign information in patients, for as Dr. C noted, it is via vital signs “…that we enter the healthcare system”.
We also learned about Panafest Nashville, an event sponsored by the African Legacies Foundation, and now I’m really looking forward to attending. Panafest is a cultural event held in Ghana and the Nashville event (April 26th and 27th) is meant to celebrate it here also.
Overall, we had a great time getting to learn more about the group’s work and their upcoming activities. Though so much more needs to be done, they are doing a great job and helping to raise overall awareness!