A delegation of Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Fellows, representing 22 countries, visited The Task Force for Global Health on July 22 to learn about the organization’s work in Africa and better understand the role global public health plays in society.
YALI, which was launched in 2010 by President Barack Obama, seeks to equip the next generation of African leaders with the skills and connections needed to foster positive change in their countries.
Task Force Senior Business Analyst Juneka Rembert, MS, who helped organize the visit, said The Task Force and the YALI program share the common goal of building capacity in African countries. “The Task Force also wants to foster long-lasting relationships with leaders in countries where our global health work has a direct impact,” she said.
During their time at The Task Force, the young leaders learned about Task Force programs to eliminate neglected tropical diseases, increase access to vaccines, and strengthen health systems. The young leaders had opportunities to network with Task Force staff members and were encouraged to apply the lessons they learned at The Task Force to help improve public health in their countries.
Chaikhwa Lobatse, a registered nurse in Botswana, was inspired by The Task Force’s work to help countries improve their abilities to detect and respond to disease outbreaks.
“Today’s visit has taught be a lot about field epidemiology,” said Lobate. “My country doesn’t have a field epidemiology training program. I’m going to go to my Ministry of Health and advocate for an FETP.”
She added that she plans to stay connected with her new friends at The Task Force and continue collaborating on issues of global public health.