Just one week away until our big weekend starting from Friday 11 October 2013! Not only do we have the Hope Beyond Cancer Fundraising Evening, we also have four women running to support the five cancer patients the ECCT is supporting in the Melbourne Marathon Festival on Sunday 13 October 2013.
As we turn our attention back to the Fundraising Evening, we are so deeply honoured to have Dr. Sheila D. Tlou as our Guest Speaker on this inspirational and hope filled night. Dr. Tlou is the Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for East and Southern Africa since October 2010.
Dr. Tlou is a former Member of Parliament and former Minister of Health of the Republic of Botswana (2004-2009). She is a Professor of Nursing at the University of Botswana and former Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Development in Primary Health Care for Anglophone Africa. She has conducted research and taught courses to Nursing, Pre-medical and Social Science students on Gender issues in HIV/AIDS, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Ageing and Older Persons. She has played a key role in the development of national nursing and medical education curricula, working to broaden the scope of Health Sciences education in her home country of Botswana. Dr. Tlou has been involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS from the time the epidemic started in Botswana in 1985.
Dr. Tlou is an admirable woman who has achieved so much in the African Health environment. She has worked to increase community awareness of HIV and AIDS in Botswana using youth groups, nongovernmental organizations, and grassroots women’s organizations. She was HIV/ AIDS Coordinator at the University of Botswana from 2002- 2004 and facilitated the formation of the Students Against HIV/ AIDS Society (SAHA). She is the Founder of the Botswana chapter of the Society of Women and AIDS in Africa (SWAA) in which volunteers are trained in home- based care and educate families on HIV prevention, human rights, and caring for people living with AIDS.
Dr. Tlou holds a PhD in Nursing Sciences and post graduate Certificates in Women’s health and Gender studies, from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed a Masters degree in Nursing Education and Instruction at Columbia University, and a Master of Science in Nursing at the Catholic University of America. She has published on numerous gender-related topics, including HIV/AIDS, Older Persons, Menopause, and community- based approaches to HIV and AIDS prevention. Among her publications is a 2002 book she co- wrote with Essex, Mboup and Kanki entitled, “AIDS in Africa”. In 2001, she addressed the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women on ‘Women, the Girl Child and HIV/AIDS’, and participated as a panelist in side events on Women and HIV/AIDS, organized by WHO and UNAIDS at the UN Special General Assembly on AIDS (UNGAS).
At the international level, Dr. Tlou has provided consultancy for the World Health Organization, the International Council of Nurses, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and she has participated in the International Community Educator Recruiter meetings for the HVTN (HIV Vaccine Trails Network).
During her term as Minister of Health, Dr. Tlou contributed to the improvement of global health care, especially for women and girls. She led a comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support program in Botswana whose achievements include: A roll out of ARVs and PMTCT to near universal (96%) uptake. Transmission of HIV from mother to child decreased from 40% in 2003 to about 4% in 2008, and maternal mortality due to AIDS decreased from 38% to 9%. Average childhood immunization rate increased from 78% in 2004 to over 90% in 2008. At regional level, as Chairperson of SADC and African Union Ministers of Health in 2005, Dr. Tlou provided leadership in the adoption of the SADC Malaria Eradication Program, the SADC HIV/AIDS Plan of Action, the Africa Framework on Sexual and Reproductive Health, the Africa Health Strategy, and the adoption of the Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Dr Tlou also represented Eastern and Southern Africa in the Board of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
She has received several national and international awards, among them the 2003 Florence Nightingale Award from the International Red Cross Society, the 2002 Botswana Presidential Order of Honour, the 2007 Woman Leading Change Award from the World YWCA, the 2004 Emang Basadi Award for Leadership in HIV/ AIDS, and the 2002 Anna Reynvaan Award from the Amsterdam Medical Centre. She is the United Nations Eminent Person for Women, Girls, and HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa.
Professor Tlou was married to the late Botswana historian, Prof. Thomas Tlou, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana, and they have three adult children: 2 sons and a daughter. She has portrayed Precious Ramotswe, the heroine of Alexander McCall Smith’s Number One Ladies Detective Agency book series, in several amateur theatre productions in Botswana. She also starred in the Anthony Mingella BBC Movie: The Number One Ladies Detective Agency (2008).
We cannot wait to meet Dr. Tlou and hear her speak on the important issue of cancer which is affecting us all. We can no longer ignore how prevalent cancer is…but our mission is to spread positivity and hope. Attend our event and leave with insight into how we can all play a part in making a difference for our future generations.