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The President of the Republic of Senegal His Excellency Mr Macky Sall awarded the president of the Cuomo Foundation, Mrs Maria Elena Cuomo with the National Order of the Lion and the rank of Commander at a special ceremony held at the Presidential Palace in Dakar on October 20th, 2020.

In bestowing Senegal’s highest civil and military honour for exceptional merit and service, President Sall highlighted the Cuomo Foundation’s commitment “to Senegal and the eminent services rendered to the Senegalese Nation”.

The Cuomo Foundation financed the complex building construction and highly specialized equipment needs of the Cuomo Cardio Paediatric Centre CCPC in Dakar, providing 6 million euros in funding. The CCPC is located within the grounds of the Fann University Hospital and benefits from the cooperation of the Senegal Ministry of Health and Social Action and the French NGO La Chaine de L’Espoir. Since its opening in 2017 the CCPC has successfully operated on over 500 children in need of cardio attention. More recently, during the height of the Covid-19 crisis, the centre was able to utilize its intensive care unit, its specialized equipment and highly qualified medical staff to deliver care to the most critical coronavirus cases.

In attendance at the award ceremony at the Presidential Palace were also His Excellency Mr Cheikh Tidiane Sal, Ambassador and the Chief of Protocol, Mr Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr the Minister of Health and Social Action, Dr. Cheikh Tacko Diop the Director of the FANN University Hospital, Professor Gilles Dreyfus the Medical and Scientific Director of the CCPC and Mr. Francisco A. Diaz Lison the Managing Director of the Cuomo Foundation.

Acceptance Speech by Maria Elena Cuomo, the president of the Cuomo Foundation, on the occasion of receiving top honorary award from the President of the Republic of Senegal at the Presidential Palaces-Dakar, Senegal-20th October, 2020

Your Excellence,

I am deeply honoured and moved by this decoration that Your Excellency Mr President has kindly bestowed on me for the realisation of the Cuomo Cardio-Paediatric Centre.

This was a project undertaking that involved numerous discussions with all members of the Board of Directors, as the Foundation in the first 10 years of its establishment had primarily focussed on building schools for disadvantaged children and supporting scholarships for the most deserving.

Initially presented to the Foundation by Professor Alain Deloche ,this project became a reality thanks to the mediation and involvement of Professor Gilles Dreyfus and the tireless dedication of Dr Cheikh Tacko Diop the director of the Fann University Hospital, the enthusiastic support of Professor Mouhamadou N’Diaye, Professor Amadou Ciss, Professor Oumar Kane, Professor Ibrahima Bara Diop and the commitments of both Ministers of Health and Social Action, Professor Awa Marie Coll Seck and Mr Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr.

Additionally, a special mention of thanks goes to the Managing Director of the Foundation Mr. Francisco Diaz Lison, who has been and continues being, every day, in the front line so the Centre not only can function as it should but that also it can become, in a brief timeframe, the leading Centre for all of West Africa: the gem of your wonderful Country, Mr. President.

For this very reason Mr President, I venture to request that when time allows you a brief respite from your busy agenda, you come and witness first-hand this gem that is the Centre. That artists and craftsmen, children of your country, have rendered with images of butterflies, birds and happiness, smiling children run through a cheerful Centre, where one does not witness pain or suffering but only the hope of healing.

This Centre functions extremely well and for this we must thank not only the specialist doctors and nurses but also the orderlies, the housekeepers, the caretakers, the cooks, the gardeners… all who have dedicated themselves to progress and success despite having to overcome obstacles such as the Covid crisis. In this unexpected situation the CCPC has remained solid, firm and equipped with the most efficient and modern means to manage this new plague.

The Foundation stands side by side with your wonderful Country.

– Dakar, Senegal-20th October, 2020

Centre Cardio-Pédiatrique Cuomo, Dakar


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