The first discussion regarding the formation of a pan-African child neurology association took place during the International Child Neurology Congress in Montreal in 2006 between the executive of the Paediatric Neurology and Developmental Association of South Africa (PANDA-SA) and members from the Egyptian societies. The idea was the brainchild of Ahmed Raouf Ibrahim, who was also to be the convenor of the subsequent International Child Neurology Congress in Cairo, Egypt, in 2010. The theme was further developed at a PANDA-SA meeting in Sun City, South Africa, in 2008 as part of the ‘‘Sky is the Limit’’ Paediatric Congress. Ahmed Raouf Ibrahim attended this meeting, together with several invited delegates from sub-Saharan countries. At that meeting the formation of an African Child Neurology Association was unanimously accepted.
Andre´ Venter was elected as chairman of a Steering Committee to drive the process further. Several members from PANDA-SA and the Egyptian Paediatric Neurology Association and delegates from sub-Saharan Africa were elected to serve on the Steering Committee. It was decided that a provisional constitution should be drawn up (based on the current International Child Neurology Association constitution) and that an inaugural meeting was to be held during the International Child Neurology Congress meeting in Cairo, Egypt.1 On March 27, 2009, a joint meeting was held at the Pyramiso Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, between members of the International Child Neurology Association Executive Board and the Steering Committee.
The International Child Neurology Association was represented by Robert Ouvrier (President), Kenneth Mack (Secretary), Orvar Eeg-Olofsson (Treasurer), and Ingrid Tein (Chair: Scientific Committee). Although a different name for the organization was initially selected, the final name to be adopted was the African Child Neurology Association (ACNA). It was also decided that this organization would develop under the umbrella of the International Child Neurology Association. Perhaps as an omen of changes to come in the International Child Neurology Association, it was decided that membership would be free and inclusive to try to reach all health professionals who work in this field in Africa. On Saturday, May 1, 2010, a significant meeting was held at the Rameses Hilton Hotel in Cairo, Epypt.
At that meeting the African Child Neurology Association was inaugurated in the presence of over 50delegates fromAfricaandbeyond. The meeting was also attended by Robert Ouvrier and other members of the International Child Neurology Association Executive Board. At that first meeting of the African Child Neurology Association, the welcome was given by Ahmed Raouf Ibrahim from Egypt and the goals of the association explained by Andre´ Venter from South Africa. After that, Jo Wilmshurst, also from South Africa, presented some of the key challenges faced by children with neurodisabilities in Africa, and four talks where then given by doctors from Africa, from Malawi (Mac Mallewa), Uganda (Angelina Kakooza-Mwesige), Nigeria (Robinson Wammanda), and Ghana (Ben Badoe). Andre´ Venter was unanimously elected as the President of the African Child Neurology Association, and other members elected to the executive council included Gail Scher from South Africa (Secretary) and Ahmed Raouf Ibrahim from Egypt (President-elect). On the following day an open symposium was held to discuss children at risk—especially in Africa—to highlight the need for trans-African collaboration. It was clear that due to logistics and cost, the African Child Neurology Association would have to perform many of its functions as a virtual organization. The short-term goal therefore was todevelop a comprehensiveaddress list and to invitemembers to join. We have really come a long way as far as this is concerned: especially due to the effective networking and outreach of Jo Wilmshurst, we have been able to identify many colleagues in Africa, who have joined. Currently the African Child Neurology Association has 68 active members. The development of the African Child Neurology Association website by Biju Hameed has also opened new means to communicate and network. Besides endorsing the general aims of the International Child Neurology Association, the vision of the African Child Neurology Association includes the promotion and improvement of.