USAfrica: Anambra Women USA meet in New Orleans for Breast Cancer fundraiser on Oct 29; interview with Dr. Mrs. Anthonia Uche Umeh.
As a part of the USAfrica international series on Women and Development, the National President of Anambra State Association (Women) – USA discusses the goals and agenda of the group in an exclusive interview with the Houston-based Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks and CLASSmagazine Dr. Chido Nwangwu . The organization she leads will host a fundraising gala this Saturday October 29, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The event is scheduled to be featured in CLASSmagazine. Here are excerpts from their chat:
Chido: Why did your association pick the issue of cancer as the major item for 2011?
Dr. Umeh: Cancer was chosen as a major item for our organization because breast cancer is number one killer of women world wide and most especially Black women.
Breast cancer has claimed the lives of our mothers, aunts, sisters, wives and even our young girls in their prime. Breast cancer affects Anambra women at an earlier age group, and is usually the very aggressive form and as most patients present late, there is rapid deterioration and death.
Some of their challenges are due to ignorance, poverty and lack of access to adequate medical care. We therefore, came to the conclusion that with education, awareness, and treatment, we can make great impact in the areas of breast and cervical cancer. Our interest was boosted by our ability to secure partnerships with Georgetown University Hospital, Division of Breast Surgery, Washington D.C and other organizations . These partnerships yielded two successful medical missions to Anambra State in 2009 and 2010 under my leadership as the former Chairlady of ASA USA Women and Children Committee and donation of two mammography machines to Anambra State.
What are the other aspects of the event?
Our other aspects of the event includes the educational conference on breast and cervical cancer from 8am to 2 pm with speakers and panelists from major Institutions in the USA and from the Anambra State Government; silent auction from 8pm to 11 pm to raise funds and a cultural presentation by the ASA Women of Louisiana. Through this event, we share and display who we are in terms of dance, music, language, culture and other aspects of our lives with our American friends as well as people of other cultures.
Who’s confirmed to attend as key speakers/guests?
We have breast surgeons from Georgetown University Hospital, Washington D.C, OB-GYN Physician from Crystal Run Healthcare in Middletown, NY, Professor of Pharmacy from Xavier University, New Orleans, Anambra State Commissioner for Health Prof. Amobi Ilika, Anambra State Commissioner for Information Chief Maja Emeka Umeh is attending, too. Chairman of ASA World, several delegates, etc.
What is your message to Anambra women, and other women, in general?
My message is that being a woman comes with lots of goodies and responsibilities which we must embrace with grace. We have been blessed beyond our imaginations and we must bless others. Our women and children need our help financially, spiritually and otherwise. When women come together for a good cause, the sky becomes our limit.
When did you take over as the leader of the group, and who’s in your team?
The association was founded in 2011 as a nonprofit organization for all Anambra State Women residing in the United States of America. Our executive members are myself as National President, Lady Ugo Nweke, National Vice President, Mrs. Josephine Onor, National General Secretary, Dr. Clara Ogbaa, National Assistant Secretary, Dr (Mrs.) Chinwe Ifejika, National Financial Secretary, Princess Omaa Adaobi Ume-Ezeoke, National Publicity Secretary, and Mrs. Azuka Okwuosa, National Parliamentarian.
What is the relationship of ASA-USA (mainly men) with ASA-USA (Women)? Is your group an arm of the other? Or is it independent?
ASA Women USA is an independent group, incorporated in the State of Maryland. It is a strong organization of women, by women, and for women that work to develop substantial partnerships that collaborates with the Anambra State Government to provide a forum through which Anambra State Women residing in the United States of America can consolidate their efforts, contribute to a well planned, and a focused goal in developing meaningful projects that will sustain and empower women, widows, children and youths in Anambra State, Nigeria and the United States of America. It is currently an affiliate Country member of ASA World.
What are your key achievements and challenges/problems to date?
My key achievements in ASA Women USA is planning our association’s first Pink and Black Affair Fundraising Gala and Educational Conference on October 29, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The proceeds from this event are in support of breast cancer awareness, early detection and treatments; cervical cancer screening and vaccination, diagnostic equipment; assist skilled women, girls and physically challenged persons with equipment grants; and providing food, medicine, clothing and education to orphanages in Anambra State, Nigeria. We are an infant organization and everything will take off after the gala event in New Orleans.
Since we are a young organization, our Challenges are to continue to recruit new chapters, increase membership, find ways to fund our projects and remain focused in accomplishing our set goals.
What’s next on your agenda?
We plan to under take a humanitarian mission to Anambra State to implement our listed objectives/goals.
How many chapters do you have and what key cities?
We have 5 affiliate chapters; in Louisiana, Houston, Massachusetts, Connecticut and in Washington, D.C.
Chido: I understand, that like me, you are a graduate of the great University of Nigeria(Nsukka); do tell us more about yourself.
Yes; I attended the same university as you did, and graduated with a degree in chemistry I am from Amichi town in Nnewi South, Anambra State, married to Chief Celestine Umeh (Nwafenna Amichi) and we both have 3 wonderful children. I’m the Pediatric Clinical Manager at Georgetown University Hospital (GUH) in Washington, DC.
I was the former Chairperson for the ASA USA Women and Children Committee. I led the ASA USA Breast Cancer Medical Mission Team to 16 towns in Anambra State, which included the Breast Surgeons from Georgetown University Hospital, Howard University Hospital and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital. We executed successful Breast Cancer Medical Missions in 2009 and 2010.
I’m the current President of the Anambra State Association, Women of Washington, DC (ASAWW). Under my leadership, we executed successful visits to Anambra State Motherless Baby’s Homes in five towns.
I am the National President/Founder of Anambra State Association, Women in the USA (ASA Women-USA) with five affiliate chapters. We are currently raising funds in support of breast and cervical cancer awareness and treatments; assists skilled women, girls and physically challenged persons with equipment grants for sustainable development; and providing food, medicine, clothing and education to orphanages in Anambra State, Nigeria
I’m also the DSG/Chairwoman of the Igbo World Assembly Women and Children Institute. The institute’s proposed project is on micro-credit financing for underprivileged community women and widows in the 7 Igbo speaking communities in Nigeria (Abia, Anioma, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and River State. The project seeks to alleviate poverty experienced by underprivileged women and widows.
Thanks you for the opportunity to be interviewed.
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