Dear Honored Friends and Guests,
2013 marks 100 years since Albert Schweitzer first opened his hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon. Schweitzer was a man of many talents and interests, but above all else he believed in the value of life and the responsibility to care for it. For a century, his hospital and our country have been home to his legacy of dedication to health and quality of life for all people. We are so proud of this honor, and we hold dearly our continued responsibility to it.
This July we will commemorate Albert Schweitzer with an international centennial celebration, to laud his life’s achivements and bring new perspectives and a renewed future to his work. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London will join us in remembering his his passion for music. To affirm Schweitzer’s medical achievements, we will host an International Symposium convening the world’s leading experts on infectious diseases and international healthcare and aid. This Symposium will bring Schweitzer’s legacy to meet 21st century technology, resources, and needs.
The health and welfare of the Gabonese is one of my top priorities.
Gabon’s commitment to the environment and a green future – central to Schweitzer’s legacy – is an important element of this. As part of the Centennial celebrations, we will announce the Gabon Albert Schweitzer Award.
Promoting his humanitarian values, this award supports fundamental research in combatting the infectious diseases that most affect our citizens, and those in tropical regions across the globe.
I am especially proud to share that 2013 will also mark the unveiling of the new Centre Hospitalier Universitaire International Albert Schweitzer à Lambaréné. This institution will be both a hospital dedicated to Gabon’s healthcare needs and a world-class medical research center. The center has two objectives: first, to provide greater technical, human and financial resources for research on malaria, the tuberculosis resurgence and the development of cardio-vascular diseases. Second, to provide expert training for young Gabonese and Africans.
The only way to truly commemorate Schweitzer’s legacy is to ensure that it can continue to flourish. It is with great pride, therefore, that this July 6-7, 2013, Gabon will honor Albert Schweitzer’s service, and commit to 100 more years of his humanist spirit, his scientific and medical commitment, and his foundation.
With my sincere wishes to keep Schweitzer’s spirit alive among our young generations!
The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, situated on the bank of the Ogooué River in a tropical rain forest in western Gabon, has served as the primary source of healthcare for the surrounding region since Dr. Schweitzer founded it in 1913.
Today, an international staff of Gabonese and expatriate professionals provide skilled care for over 35,000 outpatient visits and more than 6,000 hospitalizations annually for patients from all parts of Gabon. Two surgeons and their teams carry out close to 2,200 operations annually. Most of the 160 members of the staff live in the hospital compound, which gives the hospital the feel of a village.
Through support from the Gabonese government and Schweitzer organizations around the world, patients today find a modern medical facility that includes two operating rooms, a dental clinic, and inpatient wards for pediatric, adult medicine, surgical, and obstetrical patients.
The U.S. National Institute of Health has recognized the Hospital’s research laboratory as one of five leading facilities in Africa engaged in scientific studies of malaria, the greatest killer on the African continent with more than 1,000,000 deaths per year.
Children with severe malaria at the Schweitzer Hospital have the lowest documented mortality rate anywhere on the continent.
In 1999, the Hospital established an expanded Community Health Program, providing comprehensive village-based healthcare, vaccinations, and health education, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Efforts are underway to expand collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Health to include improved prenatal care, maternal/child health services, and expanded prevention and treatment programs for HIV/AIDS, TB, and other diseases.
In 2008 the Albert Schweitzer Hospital initiated a strategic planning process to guide the growth of the hospital over the next three to five years, leading up to the celebration in 2013 of the Hospital’s 100th anniversary. This “Lambaréné Centennial Project” aims at strengthening clinical and public health programs in HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and maternal/child health so that the Schweitzer Hospital is a model of integrated hospital and village health programs in rural Africa, and a training site for health workers from throughout the region.
Launched by H.E. President Ali Bongo Ondimba, the new Centre Hospitalier Universitaire International Albert Schweitzer à Lambaréné is a milestone in African commitment to healthcare and medical innovation. This initiative supports a vision of accessible, world-class care for the people of Gabon and across Africa. It believes in a twenty-first century model in which African doctors and scientists lead the world in preventing and combatting infectious disease.