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A Night to Coalesce Cultures, Couture, and Colorful Cuisine


London, United Kingdom, March 14, 2010 --(PR.com)-- The Touch Foundation’s Into Africa gala on March 25 will benefit the training of desperately needed doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers in the East African nation of Tanzania.

Sub-Saharan Africa has 10 % of the world’s population, 24% of the world’s disease burden, and less than 1% of the world’s expenditures for healthcare. The shortage of healthcare workers in Tanzania is particularly dire. There are approximately 1,300 doctors to cover Tanzania’s population of 40 million – that is just one doctor for every 30,000 people.

Into Africa will attract high profile guests at London’s famed Grosvenor House. Expected attendees include the Foreign Minister of Tanzania, the Deputy Governor of Bank of Tanzania, the Commissioner General of Tanzania Revenue Authority, and the Tanzanian High Commissioner. Some of the private sector guests include CEO of Citi Private Bank, CEO of First Bank of Nigeria, NedBank, senior Directors from McKinsey & Company, Generation Fund, and other leaders from financial services, banking and legal firms.

East Africa’s diverse culture sets the stage for the night’s entertainment. From the booming Bollywood film industry to its flavorful curried dishes, Tanzania and its neighboring countries boast a rich tradition of Indian influence following the migration of thousands of Indians to the region more than a century ago. A catwalk of an African-inspired couture by Indian designer Narendra Kumar, featured recently in the Times of India and on Fashion TV, will be a main attraction. Into Africa also offers cocktails, dinner, and a charity auction featuring a luxury safari package and Wimbledon Finals tickets – all to the backdrop of a live African band.

Proceeds will provide scholarships for students at Bugando, a leading hospital and medical university in Tanzania training doctors and other healthcare workers to serve in rural areas. Graduates are already tackling maternal and infant mortality from AIDS, malaria and other preventable diseases.

“We will never witness real health improvements in Africa without greater investment in the number of trained doctors, nurses and other health professionals,” explained Touch Foundation President Lowell Bryan, who is also a Director at McKinsey & Company. “Into Africa will enable people to make a tangible difference in Africa while celebrating the region’s people and all their diversity.”

Into Africa begins at 7 pm on March 25. Information about tickets can be found on www.touchfoundation.org.

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About the Touch Foundation: The Touch Foundation (www.touchfoundation.org) is a non-profit organization that aims to improve access to basic healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa by working with partners to overcome two fundamental problems: 1) critical shortage of healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and laboratory technicians; and 2) weaknesses of existing health systems. Our approach to solving these problems is unique in that we combine the best of private and public sector approaches and expertise, leveraged from our partnerships with governments, corporations, development partners, and non-profits. Our model is to engage local leaders from the beginning to help rebuild their existing healthcare system, rather than building a parallel one.

We have deliberately chosen to focus initially on one country to learn lessons that can then be applied across sub-Saharan Africa. Tanzania’s healthcare crisis is acute as is the case in much of the region, yet it has a stable democracy and a government committed to improving education and public health. Tanzania stands out among African nations as a regional anchor of stability — and it is where we have anchored our work.

Since 2004, the Touch Foundation has dramatically expanded Bugando – now the second largest medical school and second largest hospital in Tanzania. The two institutions serve 15 million people in its predominantly rural catchment area. Over 900 students are now enrolled. The number of M.D. students has grown from 10 students in 2004 to 400 students today. Over the next five years, the medical university is expected to increase Tanzania’s doctor population by 30%.

The hundreds of newly trained healthcare workers we have supported are already saving lives, and more are in training than ever before. These remain the ultimate indicators of our success and the motivation for our future.

Contact: Meaghan_Johnson@mcksinsey.com ; +44 20 7961 6375
Contact Information
Touch Foundation
Meaghan Johnson
+44 20 7961 6375
Contact
www.touchfoundation.org
emily_bell@mckinsey.com

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