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Rotary Club of Accra gets first female President

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Dr Juliette M. Tuakli
Dr Juliette M. Tuakli

The Rotary Club of Accra has for the first time in its 50 years of existence elected a female to preside as over its activities.

Dr Juliette M. Tuakli, whose investiture will take place at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra on Monday July 8, has also been elected as the President of Council of Presidents of all rotary clubs in Ghana.  She will preside over the 2013/14 Rotary year.

Rotary is a worldwide service / volunteer organisation. More than 1.2milloin Rotarians around the world provide humanitarian service encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

Rotary has been in Ghana since 1958 with the Accra Club being the Premier club in the country.

About 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas conduct projects to address challenges including disease, hunger, poverty, water, sanitation and environmental concerns.

Don Obilor, Chair, Public Relations Rotary Club of Accra expressed excitement with the appointment of Dr Tuakli, saying: “We have no doubt that Julliete will be an excellent president. Over the years she has displayed amazing qualities of service to humanity and is a great team player.”

With more than 25 years’ experience in reproductive health and pediatrics, Dr Juliette Tuakli is a public health physician, gender specialist and a passionate advocate of child health.

Dr Tuakli was trained at the University of Zambia’s School of Medicine; University of London, England and the University of California, Los Angeles. Specializing in developmental pediatrics, reproductive health and medical gynecology.

She worked briefly with the World Health Organisation and British National Health Service before immigrating to the United States.

She joined the Harvard Medical School Faculty in Boston, Massachusetts and became Pediatric Director of Boston Children’s Hospital community health programme.

Her work led to the creation of the Community Pediatrics Department at the Children’s Hospital.

She served on the Harvard School of Public Health’s Centre for Child Health Advisory Council, and with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Women’s Health Advisory Council, for many years.

Dr Tuakli served as an overseer at the New England Conservatory of Music for a number of years.

In 1990, she founded Maternal & Child Healthcare Associates, a private practice serving underprivileged children and adolescents in Boston.

Dr Tuakli co-founded the African Community Health Initiative in 1998 in response to the increasing burden of HIV and AIDS amongst immigrant African families of Massachusetts.

She also served as Northeast Regional Pediatric Consultant to the US Department of Health and Human Services, advising on the care of immigrants, HIV+ women and children.

In 2001, Dr Tuakli relocated to Accra, Ghana, where she has emerged as one of the region’s leading experts on child health and the role of gender in national development.

Her experiences on the African continent include reproductive healthcare and clinical HIV service delivery in Ghana, Zambia, Kenya and Rwanda.

As Deputy Director of Family Health International START programme, she supervised the development of a comprehensive HIV and AIDS awareness programme in Accra.

Working with UNFPA and the Ghana AIDS Commission, she has educated Ghana’s traditional leadership on gender, culture and HIV issues.

She co-developed Ghana’s successful 10-year National HIV and AIDS Response, funded by the World Bank, and recently completed a  five -year term as Chair of WISE, Ghana’s rapidly developing national women’s empowerment programme that has served more than  35,000 women and children in the past five years.

She is a member of the WHO TropIKA board which is a knowledge management programme focused on neglected diseases of poverty.

Dr Tuakli received a Rotary Club’s special citation for her commitment to children through the facilitation of multiple projects including one that provided empowerment and vocational skill training to freed Trokosi sexual slaves; the building of a fully equipped playground for sick children at the main Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and arranging the use of Rotarian’s frequent flyer miles to transport children with heart disease for care in South Africa and elsewhere – the Gift of Life project.

Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Tuakli co-developed Child Health in Africa, a rights-based child health curriculum for various Schools of Public Health in Ghana, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

She has published and contributed to several works including A Nutrition Guide for Families Living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana (2006), My Right To Belong: Stories of Stigma Reduction Efforts Across Africa (2004), HIV/AIDS Care & Treatment: A Clinical Course for People Caring for Persons Living with HIV/ AIDS (2003), Developmental and Cultural Issues of West African Children (2001), and “The Effects of Psychosocial Stress on Latino and African-American Preschoolers” in Psychosocial Development of Minority Children (1998).

Among her many awards is the Boston Healthy Start Annual Award bestowed on her in 1996 for dedication and outstanding healthcare provided to Boston’s children, the Nigerian Eagle Society conferred on her the Outstanding Service Award in 1996, for her work as National Secretary of the Nigerian Peoples Forum, an US-based Diaspora organisation.

In 1996 she also received an award for Outstanding Service from the National Council of Negro Women.  A United Nations Citizen of the World Award was conferred on her in 1998 and she was featured in Tall Drums-a book recognising the contributions of outstanding Africans in the world.

In Africa, she has been conferred the Pan African Women Innovators Special Recognition Award (2005) for her multinational horticultural programme for youth and the Sankofa Annual Award for Outstanding Community Service (Ghana) in 2006.

Dr Tuakli is currently writing a book about the rights-based public health paradigm for children she has developed in Ghana.

Source: GNA

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