First Lady of Niger Visits Howard Sickle Cell Center in Search of Answers
WASHINGTON -- Dr. Malika Issoufou Mahamadou, the first lady of the Republic
of Niger and president of the Tattali-Iyali Foundation, will visit the Howard
University Center for Sickle Cell from noon to 2:30 p.m. Monday as she continues
her efforts to upgrade health care for the citizens of her African nation.
Dr. Mahamadou will be greeted by Dr. Wayne Frederick, deputy vice president
for Health Sciences, and Dr. Sheik N. Hassan, senior associate dean for Academic
Affairs in the College of Medicine, before being given a comprehensive tour
of the center and a thorough explanation of its work.
Dr. Patricia O’Neal, a hematologist/oncologist in the Department of Medicine
at Howard University Hospital and the College of Medicine and co-director of
the center, will discuss with her excellency treatments for sickle cell disease
in adults. Dr. Sohail Rana, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics
at the hospital and college, will explain the disease in children.
Sergei Nekhai, Ph.D., a co-director at the center and director of the center’s
research program, and Kareem Washington, Ph.D., an assistant professor of genetics
in the College of Medicine, will discuss advancements in sickle cell research.
Dr. Seyed Mehdi Nouraie, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of
Medicine in the College of Medicine and Howard University Hospital, will explain
the center’s epidemiology and data analysis, and Barbara Harrison, an assistant
professor of pediatrics in the College of Medicine and director of the center’s
Community Outreach Program, will discuss efforts to educate residents in the
Washington area and beyond.
As head of Tattali-Iyali Foundation, the first lady has been working to advance
the organization’s vision for a better world for women, children and the underserved.
In Niger, 59.5 percent of the people live below the poverty line. Life expectancy
is 54 years for males and 56 for women. Statistics show that in Niger a woman
dies every two hours while pregnant or after delivery and at the same time,
six newborns die and 30 women become disabled as a result of obstetrical complications.