A trip to Lambarene
Schweitzer arrived in Lambarene Gabon in 1913 and started his humanitarian work as a physician there. He returned to Europe from time to time but considered Lambarene and his hospital to be his home, and devoted his life to improving the health of the people there.
100 years later, a symposium was held to consider what health issues Schweitzer would be addressing if he were alive today. The symposium focused on the three major infectious diseases that constitute the public health crisis in Africa today - HIV/AIDS, Malaria and tuberculosis. Delegates from 22 countries gathered to meet, share knowledge, and consider mutual challenges.
While it did not figure as largely on the formal agenda of the weekend, the subtext of the gathering was the underlying philosophy of Schweitzer's ethic of Reverence for Life and his humanistic approach to healthcare.
Day 1, Saturday July 6
This was an opportunity to reflect on Schweitzer's ethic of Reverence for Life, to gaze out at the Ogooue River that had inspired him, and re-dedicate ourselves to music, healing and service.
Return to Libreville, evening at the Presidential Palace
H.E. President Ali Bongo Adimba greeted the guests on the first official event, an evening at the Presidential Palace. Talks included a panel of Nobel Laureates addressing Africa's major health Issues, and a brief overview of new modalities to fight the "Triple Epidemic: of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and tuberculosis. A dinner gala followed and the evening ended with a brief concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from London.
Day 2 - Sunday July 7
The final panel, "Reimagining the governance model" featured Dr. Dr. Thomas Zeltner, Dr. Lachlan Forrow, Dr. Patrice Debre, and Ms. Trina Haque and was moderated by Declan Okpalaeke. They addressed the governance model of healthcare in Africa in the future, advocating improved resource allocation to achieve universal access to health. Here is a link to the panel discussion by these brilliant thought leaders.