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Toyin Saraki leads Wellbeing Foundation Africa delegation to Women Deliver 2019; Justin Trudeau and Sahle-Work Zewde to address Global Gender Conference on 'Power. Progress. Change'

Toyin Saraki is this week leading the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) delegation to the Women Deliver 2019 conference in Vancouver, Canada. The gathering is the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health and rights of girls and women in the 21st century, bringing together thousands of advocates to explore the solutions to achieve a more gender-equal world.

Mrs Saraki will join global leaders including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Sahle-Work Zewde, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, at high-level meetings and sessions on a wide range of issues related to gender.

Toyin Saraki addressing the 2018 Midwifery Symposium

Speaking in advance of the opening ceremony on Monday 3rd June, Mrs Saraki commented:

“I am delighted to join leaders, experts and advocates at Women Deliver 2019, as we work together to create a more equal world for women and girls to the benefit of every community.”

“As the Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives, I will advocate for the security of frontline healthcare workers to be prioritised around the world, and in particular in areas which constitute fragile humanitarian settings. Midwives are the key interlocutors and agents of change to keep women and girls alive and enable them to thrive: but they can only do so if they themselves are safe, well-trained and able to provide the full scope of their services.”

“The key theme of Women Deliver 2019 is power and altering power structures. I will be advocating for global investment in women’s groups to lead grassroots efforts and engage with traditional and religious leaders, so that we can shift the conversations that occur within communities. The social safety framework in Nigeria, for example, is often not the government; it is the extended family - so when that fails, women are left incredibly vulnerable. But if you strengthen the community it is better placed to support those in distress; those who have for instance been the victims of conflict and sexual violence.”

“I also believe that the passing of a comprehensive Gender Equality and Opportunities bill into law in Nigeria is a crucial element to bring about manifest progress for women and girls. Successive National Gender Policies have attempted to assess the demographic situation, provide policy context for the evolution of gender and development frameworks, and provide strategies: but their effect is not reaching women and girls. Alongside key health interventions, representation for women at the highest levels will form the key bedrock of my advocacy at Women Deliver this year.”

Isaac Ejakhebe, Project Manager for the WBFA Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) programme in Nigeria, and a Women Deliver Young Leader, with International Confederation Of Midwives President Franka Cadée and International Confederation Of Midwives Chief Executive Sally Pairman

Isaac Ejakhebe, Project Manager for the WBFA Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) programme in Nigeria, and a Women Deliver Young Leader, addressed the midwifery symposium organised by the International Confederation of Midwives and commented from Vancouver: “Since the Women Deliver global conference in Denmark in 2016, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has been thrilled to be part of this pivotal movement, when a global community of advocates comes together to demonstrate the power of gender equality. We know that power can be used for good, can create progress, and will deliver the change we want to see for girls, women and youth.”

Mrs Saraki, who is also the Special Adviser to the Independent Advisory Group to the WHO Regional Office for Africa, will make a series of high-level interventions at Women Deliver 2019, including at an WHO session focused on combating cervical cancer. Last year the Wellbeing Foundation Africa released its ground-breaking ‘Rapid Assessment of the Prevention and Control of Cancer in Nigeria’ report, the first independent national research on cancer provisions. The study was led by the WBFA with support from an Amref Health Africa research grant and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.

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