The Yale Global Health Leadership Institute began its 2011 Conference on Sunday with an opening welcome by GHLI Executive Director, Michael Skonieczny. “We have two goals for your experience at this Conference,” said Mr. Skonieczny to the 25 delegate representatives from the participating countries of Ethiopia, South Africa, Rwanda, Liberia and Ghana. “Our first goal is to work with each delegation to apply strategic problem solving skills and tools to address each country’s health system challenge that they have brought to the conference. The second, an equally important goal, is to create a venue for you the delegates to share with each other on your own experiences in dealing with these challenges and other health issues your countries face.”
Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, was the keynote speaker who shared his thoughts on the collective achievements and vision for the future of HIV/AIDS. Reviewing 30 years of the AIDS epidemic, Mr. Sidibé called AIDS a “unique story of outrage and a passionate call for action” and the only disease for which a social movement has been created. Mr. Sidibé said that progress in the fight against AIDS will require taking AIDS out of isolation, fostering links between scientific evidence and leaders, and making AIDS a more integrated part of other global health efforts.
Now in its third year, the GHLI Conference was created to provide a forum for free exchange among all attendants about their health care and health systems issues. The Conference will continue through June 10th when participants will be accompanied back to each of their countries with a GHLI Student Fellow. The students will reside in their respective country delegation for eight to 10 weeks assisting delegates implement the plans created during the Conference.