GPF Hosts GETHealth Summit at the United Nations to Bring Together Top Health and Technology Innovators from Across the Globe

On February 6 and 7, The Global Partnerships Forum, in collaboration with The Johns Hopkins University Center for Clinical Global Education (headed by Dr. Robert C. Bollinger) convened the first ever Global, Education, Technology and Health Summit (GETHealth Summit) at the United Nations in New York City.  The summit, which was co-hosted by the Governments of  Ethiopia, Norway, Rwanda and Uganda, and the International Telecommunication Union, with the support of the UN Office for Partnerships, as well as a number of key US and international partners.  It brought together a global audience of health care providers, researchers, educators, and administrators in the medical industry, as well as leaders in the pharmaceutical, business, philanthropic, and technological fields to generate fresh knowledge, partnerships, and ideas that will more effectively leverage the three IT domains (infrastructure, devices, software) to address the critical health workforce gap.

The Opening Keynote Speech was delivered by Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, outlining the role of ICTs as key enablers in every facet of human activity - from healthcare and education to energy, transportation, government, entertainment, innovation and enterprise.  Dr. Touré pointed out that two thirds of the world's people - some 4.5 billion people - are still offline, which meant that two thirds of the world's people are still locked out of the world's biggest and most valuable library.  He challenged participants to come up with innovative solutions through new forms of partnerships and alliances.

The two-day Summit, which was curated by Rachel Goldstein, Founder and CEO of Agent of Change and her team led by Evie Martinez, covered a diverse range of topics around global education and technology.  In depth plenary sessions focused on IT infrastructure, distance learning platforms, the Millennium Development Goals, ICT4D, gender empowerment, public-private partnerships, policy development, health education and research and social media.  For a detailed agenda, please visit:

Innovators from across the globe came together to share progress, success and challenges within the health technology world, to move the needle from Talk to Action, with a focus on concrete results.  

A Special Ministerial Forum was the highlight of the closing segment, which included the Minister of Health of Ethiopia, Honorable Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu Birhane; Minister of Health of the Republic of Rwanda (video message), Honorable Dr. Agnes Binagwaho; State Minister for Primary Health Care of Uganda, Honorable Dr. Sarah A. Opendi; and Minister of State for Health of Nigeria, Honorable Minister Muhammad Alit Pate.  The Forum was moderated by the Special Envoy of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, Madam Suvi Linden.

GPF Chairman Amir Dossal moderated a high level panel with distinguished ambassadors from Ethiopia, Benin, Sri Lanka and Uganda: H.E. Mr. Tekeda Alemu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Benin to the United Nations and Chair of the LDC Group; H.E. Mr. Palitha Kohona, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations; and H.E. Mrs. Margaret Awino Kafeero, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Uganda to the United Nations.  Ambassadors shared their expertise around the role of technology in health and the progress their nations are making within this sector.  Ambassador Zinsou also provided details of the Plan of Action and an update on progress made, following the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) which took place 9-13 May, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.   

For more information, please visit the Summit website:

To download the speech of Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, please click here.

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