NEW YORK: Monday night, Speak Up Africa hosted its second annual Gala with over 300 African Heads of State, First Ladies, world health experts, leaders from the non-profit and foundation sector, and the business community to celebrate the tremendous strides already made in terms of child and maternal health on the continent.
Headlining the meeting was the recently elected Director General of the World Health organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia. Also attending were: His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, representatives of His Excellency Alpha Condé, President of Guinea, and of His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission, the First Lady of Malawi, H.E. Gertrude Maseko and Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki, CEO of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa.
The group turned its attention to the importance of mobilizing African leadership around the next set of healthcare goals for the continent – Universal Health Access, the eradication of Neglected Tropical Diseases, the use of midwifery as a means to lower infant mortality and maternal deaths, and the need to make vaccinations more available to families throughout the continent.
In talking about the power of mothers as advocates for their children, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recalled a recent trip to Yemen where he saw mothers fighting for care for the starving children, even while ignoring the fact that these mothers were themselves starving. Dr. Tedros reiterated his signature call for Universal Health Coverage globally – in conflict areas – and in the United States.
Kate Campana, the CEO of SUA remarked, “African leaders are paving the way for new progress in the fight for maternal and child health. The world has come so far in reducing preventable child death, but we still have a long way to go in preventing maternal mortality. It is an honor and a privilege for Speak Up Africa to be called on as the high level advocacy and communications partner of choice for institutions such as WHO, CIFF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Jakaya Kikwete Foundation. This responsibility is something we take on with focused commitment and sincerity.”
Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, the Former President of Tanzania, and a leader in the movement to improve healthcare on the continent, has joined forces with Speak Up Africa. His remarks on Monday night showed his continued resolve to work towards a healthier and more health-educated population, “No woman should die bringing another life into this world. It is not fair. It is not right. Pregnancy is not a disease. And women should not be dying. A child’s birthday should be a day of celebration, not mourning.”
Accepting the Speak Up Africa political leadership award on behalf of Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Abba Kalondo, Spokesperson in the Chairperson’s office, African Union Commission, apologized for Mr. Faki’s absence as he presided over a global security meeting with UN leaders. She repeated Mr. Faki’s oft-cited link between global security and health security world wide.
Other attendees at the Gala included:
* First Lady of Malawi, H.E. Gertrude Maseko
* Mark Suzman, Chief Strategy Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
* Dr. Mwele Malecela – Director of the Office of the Regional Director at AFRO, representing Dr. Moeti
* Dr. John Simon, Chairman of the Global Fund
* Dr. Mary Ann Etiebet, Merck for Mothers
* Ms.Theo Sawa African Women’s Development Fund
* Mr. Carl Manlan, Ecobank Foundation
* UNICEF Ambassador to Ethiopia
o Abelone Melesse
Source: African Media Agency (AMA)
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