Founded in 1989, Friends of Africa, Inc. began when two physicians were brought together by faith and a common goal to provide quality health care to poor women. While studying in Europe, Groesbeck P. Parham, M.D. learned of the world renown African (Sudanese) gynecologic surgeon, Dr. Abbo Hassan Abbo. After requesting and receiving permission to study under Dr. Abbo, Dr. Parham journeyed to the Sudan in 1986 where he worked in the clinics and surgical theatres of Khartoum Teaching Hospital. As an expression of gratitude for what he was taught Dr. Parham returned to the United States of America and raised funds to build a new hospital for women in the Khartoum.
Friends of Africa quickly began to receive support from prominent individuals in the African American community, and the scope of the work began to expand. Friends of Africa initiated a physician exchange program between the U.S. and South Africa, Zambia, Bahamas and Barbados with the goal of building local capacity for the early detection and treatment of cervical cancer. These initiatives laid the foundation for the creation of today's organization.