(Photo: Paolo Patruno, www.birthisadream.org/Amref Health Africa)
July 7, 2016 – Amref Health Africa had a strong presence at Women Deliver 2016, the world's largest global conference on the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women in the last decade. Over 5,700 people from 169 different countries gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark from May 16 to 19, to discuss, engage in and push the agenda forward on how to make the Sustainable Development Goals matter for girls and women.
Jill Sheffield, founder and president of Women Deliver, in her opening address asked delegates to ensure that girls and women are at the heart of development by bringing issues relating to their health, rights and wellbeing to the top of global and national agenda. “Sustainable development is possible only when girls and women are healthy and thriving. Women deliver so much more than babies. They deliver for themselves, their families, their communities and their societies. When you invest in girls and women, there is a ripple effect and everybody wins,” she said.
Amref Health Africa also invited Women Deliver participants to try their hand at being a midwife - using the same model that we train African midwives with. It was an enlightening experience for many, who soon discovered that delivering a baby is not as easy as it looks on television.
Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Amref Health Africa’s Global CEO, spoke on a panel discussion hosted by Philips focused on strengthening primary health care by investing in community-based approaches.
Shiphrah Kuria, Programme Manager for Reproductive Health and Family Planning at Amref Health Africa's headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, joined with representatives of the Kenyan Parliament and Ministry of Health to discuss new legislation in Kenya that will uphold the right to health, including reproductive health.
On the final morning of the conference, Amref Health Africa's eHealth Programme Manager, Diana Mukami, was part of a panel discussion looking at how digital innovations are improving the health of women and girls.
“As the leading health development NGO based in Africa, this conference provided a great opportunity for Amref Health Africa to share and gain insights and experiences on delivering for women and girls in Africa. Our organizational focus on the health of women and children fits right in with the global health agenda and is critical to the success of the SDGs in Africa,” said Dr Gitahi.
Women Deliver's closing ceremony urged all of us to 'be the change you want to see' and commit to deliver for girls and women in our own ways.