Heroines in Health at UNGA74

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Women in Global Health

Published Date

Women in Global Health (WGH) refuses to see the attainment of gender equality in Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as an impasse. Instead, it chooses to recognize and appreciate the many contributions made by women in global health worldwide.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) high-level week will be highlighting why “Making Universal Health Coverage a Reality” is critical. In addition to the Asks4UHC, which UNGA74 supports, WGH makes a commitment to the attainment of UHC; but without gender equality, we remain skeptical that UHC will be achieved. With gender equality, recognition of women’s rights, and investment in decent workplaces for women, we will deliver UHC.

“Delivered by women. Led by men” is a seasoned narrative that is evidenced by the existence of fewer women at the decision-making table. Currently, there are 69% executives, 71% board chairs, and 140 global health board chairs all of whom are male. Unfortunately, women only hold 25% of global health leadership positions while providing 70% of the workforce half of which is unpaid. This contributes to an average of US$3 trillion global GDP.

WGH is inspired to advance gender transformative leadership by recognizing the unsung heroines of health. With their contribution, the global health sector will gain tremendously. For instance, for UHC to be delivered, we need approximately 180 million health worker jobs in low income countries by 2030. Our Heroines of Health are dedicated to this mission too. For example, Dr. Sharmila Anand is dedicated to educating Indians youths on the significance of improving health for all.

Honoring women health pioneers is integral to WGH. Heroines of health hold a variety of positions including department heads, nurses, community health workers (CHW), researchers, physicians, policymakers, representatives of INGOs, midwives, educators, human rights activists, and volunteers.

We would like to recognize:
- Dr. Najla Al-Sonboli, Al-Sabeen Hospital for Maternity and Children Pediatric Department Head, Yemen
- Claire Cahill, Co-founder of the Scoliosis Advocacy Network, Ireland
- Anne Kinuthia, Country Representative for IntraHealth International, South Sudan
- Professor Rose Leke, Professor for Medical and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Yaounde, Cameroon
- Christine Mataza, Nurse Coordinator for Primary Health Facilities in Kilifi Sub-county, Kenya
- Margaret Nakanjakko, SRHR community educator at Reproductive Health Uganda, Uganda
- Audra Renyi, Founder of EarAccess, Canada
- Professor Sabina Rashid, Head of BRAC School of Public Health, Bangladesh
- Professor Malabika Sarker, Teacher, Researcher, Director of Research, Bangladesh
- Dr. Aula Abbara, Project lead for Greece for the Syrian American Medical Society Global Response, Greece
- Dr. Sharmila Anand, Director of SEHPL, India
- Kwanele Asante, Patient activity, lawyer and bioethicist serving as Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Cancer, South Africa
- Mwanamvua Boga, Nurse Manager at Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya
- Elvira SN. Dayrit, Director of Health and Human Development Resource Bureau, Philippines
- Margaret Gyapong, Medical Athropologist, Ghana
- Emmah Kariuki, working to bring low-cost health innovations to community with Jhpiego, Kenya
- Samalie Kitooleko, Nurse in charge of Uganda Rheimatic Heart Disease Registry, Uganda
- Dr. Louise Mannheimer, Head of Sexual Health unite at the Swedish Public Health Agency, Sweden
- Mercy Owuor, Director of community programs for Lwala Community Alliance, Kenya
- Dr. Semakaleng Phafoli, Senior nursing and midwifery technical advisor at Jhpiego, Lesotho
- Rohani Dg Te’ne, Midwife assistant and a volunteer community health motivator, Indonesia
- Sreytouch Vong, Research fellow at ReBUILD and RinG Consortium, Cambodia

2019 Heroines of Health
- Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of Health, Uganda
- Sandra Oyarzo Torres, Midwife dedicated to Primary Healthcare and UHC, Chile
- Dr. Farzana Ibrahim, First Female Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon, Bangladesh
- Albertha Freeman, Nurse and Community Health Services Supervisor, Liberia
- Stéphanie Roche, Midwife and Head of Maternity Unit in Marigot, Haiti
- Dr. Fiona Sampson, International Human Rights Lawyer and Founder/CEO of Equality Effect, Kenya
- Dr. Jeanne Tessougué, Chief of Party at IntraHealth’s USAID/Mali Human Resources for Health Strengthening Activity, Mali

WGH is dedicated to acknowledging and appreciating the many women who work tirelessly to ensure that UHC is achieved. We are telling impactful stories of these women, celebrating them and giving them a platform to represent marginalized communities assertively.

This year on September 25th in Geneva, Switzerland, we are privileged to host 2019’s heroines and over 140 attendees; as well as, leaders who believe that seeing gender equality as an integral component of global health and the economy will assist in achieving UHC. The event will welcome a keynote speech from former president of Liberia the Honorable Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, Africa’s “Iron Lady”. Other esteemed speakers include the Honorable Helen Clark, Board Chair of PMNCH Foundation, Mr. Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director of Africa, and Stéphanie Seydoux, French Ambassador for Global Health.

We are committed to the attainment of UHC by reinforcing that gender equality must be observed. UNGA74 must include women at the table to ensure that sensitive issues about gender equality, marginalization, women’s empowerment, economic growth, and sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) are addressed.

#Healthworkforce #GenderUHC #HeroinesofHealth #Healthforall

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