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Princess Zahra Aga Khan Keynote Speaker at Atlanta Health Care Symposium

September 2003
Princess Zahra Aga Khan Keynote Speaker at Atlanta Health Care Symposium

Atlanta, Georgia, July 9th, 2003?A thousand participants were registered for a two-day Symposium on the theme, "Closing the Health Care Gap between the Developed and Developing Worlds." The event, held at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, was organized by the Aga Khan Health Board for the United States and the Ismaili Health Professionals Association (IHPA). Professionals from all health care specialties were represented.

Princess Zahra Aga Khan, who has primary responsibility for management of health, education, and planning and building service organizations of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), was the Guest of Honor and delivered the keynote address. In the morning, Cathy Cox, Georgia's Secretary of State, welcomed the Princess on behalf of the State of Georgia, made her an Honorary Georgian citizen and enrolled her in the State's Goodwill Ambassador Corps. "The value of her work in the areas of social welfare, women's issues and youth achievement is enormous," said the Secretary, "and we are grateful for her dedication and commitment. She is truly are a role model to those of us who seek to serve the public and make our world a better place for all global citizens."

Princess Zahra Aga Khan discussed the challenges in delivering basic health care to large underserved populations in India and other developing countries. She described some of the programs and approaches being taken by the AKDN and their impact, welcoming efforts by members of the IHPA to provide voluntary services by going to other countries and training local physicians in the newest techniques.

Speakers from several specialties and from seven countries addressed a range of topics, in an attempt to better understand what was being done to improve health care in the developing world and the challenges involved, such as improving access to affordable care.

"Whether a physician practices in Marietta or Mozambique, medicine is an international concern. The rapid spread of the SARS epidemic in recent months is only one example of the global nature of health concerns that practitioners in Atlanta must prepare for. Creating institutional linkages and building mechanisms for ongoing collaboration across oceans will be absolutely fundamental to 21st century medicine." said Dr. Mansoor Saleh, Principal Investigator and Director of Clinical Research at Georgia Cancer Specialists and Professor of Medicine and Pathology at the University of Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Several physicians who had volunteered and spent time in East Africa, Pakistan and India, were recognized for their services and at a private reception in the evening, ex-Mayor Andrew Young presented Princess Zahra with the Phoenix Award, the City's highest award. At the reception, Congresswoman Denise Majette spoke of Princess Zahra's many years of service to communities in need and the positive role being played by the Aga Khan Development Network.

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