WELLBEING FOUNDATION AFRICA LEADS THE CHARGE FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE AT UNGA 2017
The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), the continent's leading maternal and child health charity, is attending the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), this week in New York, where the Foundation’s team will continue their mission to increase investments in health infrastructure, while imploring national governments, the private sector and NGOs to commit to universal health coverage (UHC). The WBFA works in Nigeria and in other parts of Africa, focusing on improving the livelihoods of women through advocacy, education and empowerment, in pursuit of the fulfilment of SDGs 3 and 5, across Africa.
The WBFA has dedicated its global policy advocacy at the 72nd UNGA to the massive gains that can be achieved by investing in primary healthcare and community health infrastructure, presenting evidence of the massive social and economic returns of strategic social impact investments.
Mrs. Saraki, who serves as International Confederation of Midwives Global Goodwill Ambassador and Chair of Nigeria's Primary Health Care Revitalization Support Group of 92 national civil society organisations advocating to Nigeria's National Assembly that Government honours it's 1% Consolidated Revenue Fund budgetary appropriation pledges to Health stated:
“The horror of the terrorism in North East Nigeria shocked the world, and rightly caused a strong Government response. But there is another killer which is as lethal but less visible, and one the Government must act on also: the broken healthcare system that means people die from illness that could have been prevented."
“The impact of inadequate care is huge. According to the institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in 2015 alone malaria killed 192,284 people in Nigeria, diarrheal diseases killed 143,88 people and neonatal and maternal disorders killed 212,557 women and children died during pregnancy and childbirth.”
“These numbers add up to a crisis as dire and urgent as direct violence. Yet for every 1 Naira spent on health, 2.5 Naira is spent on defense. It is time the Government’s response to the crisis of poor health be as swift and aggressive as the response to national security threats.”
"Every year, roughly 100 million people globally are pushed into poverty due to catastrophic health costs, while only 1 in 5 people have social security protection that will cover lost wages in the event of illness."
"In Africa, there is a population growth estimated to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, and a triple burden of communicable, non-communicable diseases and weak health systems."
"Most countries have integrated UHC goals into their national health strategies; however, this has not translated into resource allocation or implementation."
"Therefore, there is a need for renewed commitments and accelerated progress towards UHC in Africa, in order to eliminate preventable deaths, especially maternal and child deaths; strengthen resilience to public health emergencies; reduce financial hardship linked to illness; and strengthen the foundations for long-term inclusive, economic and sustainable growth."
"An investment in health infrastructure and funded public service provision in upgrading primary health care to specialist referral standards is an investment in community health, and a step towards assuring fully funded and higher quality Universal Health Coverage. Frontline health conditions and non-communicable diseases are not gender specific or gender restricted, and investment in UHC is the most essential investment for health justice, social equity and holistic accountability, to deliver a demographic dividend"
WBFA currently delivers ante-natal and post-natal education to over 200,000 women in Nigeria through its Mamacare Classes and Maternal Monday Campaign, provides Kwara State healthworkers with specialist training in the emergency management of obstetric and newborn complications, and has been the driver of implementing widespread, client-held personal health records (PHRs) in Nigeria. WBFA’s Founder-President, Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki and the wider WBFA team have taken on the task of urging partners to invest in health infrastructure and to commit to Universal Health Coverage at a range of high-level events throughout the UNGA week, ensuring that relevant stakeholders are effectively engaged, including:
Sustainable Infrastructure: Financing and Supporting Service Delivery in Africa, hosted by Concordia Summit, where Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Ojora Saraki engaged global stakeholders, including current and former Heads of States, Chairs, and CEOs of leading corporations and multi-lateral organizations, in a discussion as the principal in a strategic dialogue focusing on sustainable African infrastructure.
- Resilient and Stable: Building Strong Health Systems to Protect Women, Adolescents and Children meeting, hosted by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), Global Health Council, Johnson & Johnson, and Syrian American Medical Society
- The Case for Investing in Maternal Health: Where Should the Money Go in Humanitarian Settings - "Safe Birth Even Here" hosted by UNFPA, highlighting the renowned humanitarian ambassador, actress Ashley Judd and HE Toyin Saraki's contributions
- Speak Up Africa Gala honouring African Global Health Leaders: honoring WHO Director General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Former Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, Dr Mary Anne Etiebet Director of Merck For Mothers and Wellbeing Foundation Africa Founder HE Toyin Ojora Saraki
- Global Health Security in Action: Putting Countries in the Driver’s Seat, hosted by Rabin Martin, in collaboration with USP, Global Health Council, MSH and Intel
- Unpacking UHC Governance & Financing: Making Health for all a reality hosted by Management Sciences for Health
- Rights in Action: Implementing and monitoring the recommendations of the High-Level Working Group on the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents hosted by The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) and The World Health Organization.
- Closing the Gap: Innovative Business Models for Universal Health Coverage hosted by Devex & Philips
- United Nations Trusteeship Council High Level Briefing on the African Women Leaders Network hosted by the African Union Commission, UN Women, Government of Germany
- Goalkeepers for Nutrition: Inspiring Success hosted by the Gates Foundation and 1000 Days to celebrate success and accelerate efforts to address childhood stunting
Her Excellency Toyin Saraki's WBFA Delegation to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly also participated at the following events:
- Transforming accountability for the health & human rights of women, children and adolescents, hosted by Governments of Denmark and South Africa and co-organised by the Independent Accountability Panel (IAP) & PMNCH
- World Leaders for Universal Health Coverage: A High-Level Discussion at the United Nations on Achieving the SDGs through Health for All, hosted by Japan, World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, UHC 2030 & PMNCH
- Enabling Policies and Investments for a Fit-for-Purpose Health Workforce in LMICs by Intrahealth
- UNFPA Technical Consultation - Reproductive Health Commodity Security in Humanitarian Settings, hosted by UNFPA
- Delivering Together for Healthy & Empowered Women, Children & Adolescents, hosted by Every Woman Every Child.
- Leveraging philanthropy for the 2030 Agenda: from evidence to action hosted by the OECD with the governments of Germany and Mexico
- Fashion 4 Development Annual First Ladies Luncheon and announcement of Franca Sozzani Awards as the guest of Dr Precious Moloi Motsepe, honoring Dr Motsepe and others including supermodels Iman, and Naomi Campbell, and as a previous honoree of the Fashion 4 Development humanitarian "Angel" Award, 2013.
- Celebrating progress towards ending Child Marriage hosted by Ford Foundation, NoVo, Packard Foundation and Girls Not Brides, alongside education advocate and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, World Bank Group CEO Kristalina Georgieva, Princess Mabel von Oranje
Mrs Saraki, concludes her 72nd United Nations General Assembly engagements at a High Level Side Event on Humanitarian Support Initiative For Refugee Women & Children in the Lake Chad Basin hosted by the Permanent Representatives of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroun and Chad to the United Nations, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA, and Their Excellencies The First Ladies of Nigeria, Niger Republic, Cameroon and Chad, Mrs Aisha M Buhari, Dr Lalla Malika J Mahamadou, Mrs Chantal Biya and Mrs Hinda D Itno respectively.
Mrs Saraki, the Wife of Nigeria's Senate President Dr Abubabakar Bukola Saraki, will deliver the keynote address as the Delegated Representative of Nigeria's First Lady, Her Excellency Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, the Wife of The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, tasked with unveiling the First Ladies Lake Chad Basin Humanitarian Support Initiative.