CNN Hero Betty Makoni one of the speakers at Maya Angelou Women`s health Summit

By Lena Terrence: Intern(Muzvare Betty Makoni Empowerment Initiative and GCNW)

CNN Hero Betty Makoni is honoured to be one of the speakers at Maya Angelou Women`s health Summit in North Carolina happening from 27   to 28 September 2012. The Summit is focused on Women’s Health as a Global Priority. Betty Makoni was recently appointed Women World Summit`s Campaign Ambassador for 19 days on ending violence against children.

“I have never been to any conference, workshop or summit where I feel so much energy even before it happens. This is one summit which will bring practical solutions to women`s health all over the world. The summit deals with root causes of poor health amongst women and girls. There is no effective way of tackling a problem than dealing with its economic, social and political root causes,” said  Betty Makoni

In June 2012, Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina announced the creation of the Maya Angelou Center for Women’s Health and Wellness (MACWHW).  A team of physicians, nurses, administrators, community leaders and patients united together to pursue the dream of revolutionizing women’s healthcare.  For too long, there have been disparities in women’s health across the United States and abroad.   Women around the world deserve to have the best quality and access to healthcare, the knowledge to recognize when the deserved standards are not met, and the empowerment to expect nothing less than the best.

The mission, values and vision for the MACWHW are lofty and the life-work of dreamers who believe that women deserve the very best of health.  The work will be daunting, but not impossible.  To address the disparities in women’s health, the innovative work will require diligence and a multi-faceted approach.  The Summit will honor our commitment to the global improvement of women’s healthcare through research, innovation, clinical programs, public awareness, advocacy and community education.  The Summit curriculum is designed to attract regional and international participants to a solution-focused forum which will provide an environment conducive to education, networking, and discussion.  The grand finale of the three-day conference will be an Evening Celebration of Women.  The Celebration will bring awareness to the awe-inspiring and passionate work of community leaders who improve the health of women and girls

“The issues we will be discussing certainly affect women here in the United States, but we also hope to raise awareness for those all-too-prevalent and often tragic conditions that impact the lives of so many more women around the world every day,” summit organizer Dr. Chere Gregory, the director of neurosciences at Forsyth Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.

Betty Makoni and  Film Director,  Michaelene Risley are the luncheon keynote speakers  for the opening day of the Maya Angelou International Women’s Health Summit on September 27, 2012. The Maya Angelou Center for Women’s Health and Wellness (MACWHW), located at the Novant Health/Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC, is the sponsor and host of MAIWHS.

On the evening of 9/27, there is viewing of the Tapestries of Hope directed by Michaelene   Risley with Betty Makoni and her girls in Zimbabwe as the principal characters in the movie. Both ladies   agreed to remain and engage with the audience. Participants will be allowed   the opportunity to purchase signed copies of Ms. Makoni’s autobiography, Never Again: Not to any woman or girl again.  Both the movie and book are expected to inspire the audience and to be the highlight of the day which includes a robust agenda and very renowned faculty (

Betty Makoni`s presentation will discuss cultural beliefs regarding HIV and the endangerment to the health of women and girls as well as how Girls Empowerment Villages provide protection to girls and improve the health of women and girls. She will also highlight some advocacy work done globally to change some harmful cultural practices to protect health of women and girls.

The Summit’s mission is to educate healthcare professionals about the variety of health issues of women globally, many of which present themselves in patient care environments in the US, as our society becomes more diverse.

Amongst the most renowned and high profile speakers include but not limited to Mary E. Singletary, the president of the National Council of Women of the United States; Betty Makoni, the founder of Girl Child Network Zimbabwe, an organization that concentrates on the rights of girls in several countries; Kathryn Bolkovac, a former United Nations International Police Force monitor and producer of The Whistleblower , a documentary on efforts to stop sex-trafficking in Bosnia; and Imani Walker, co-founder of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, an organization that helps women and girls in the United States and Africa.

More details on the Maya Angelou Health Summit are on these links