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H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki welcomes World Health Organization Leadership to Nigeria

H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki today welcomed WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, to Nigeria. The WHO leadership is visiting Abuja as part of the meeting of the Global Policy Group (GPG) -  the highest level of internal governance and policy making within WHO.

As special adviser to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa (AFRO), Mrs Saraki held a lunch meeting with Dr. Moeti today to discuss Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria and issues of strategic importance to the WHO.

H.E. Toyin Ojora Saraki

Mrs Saraki, who is also the Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), commended the introduction of WHO AFRO's focused curriculum for the professional qualification education of Midwives and Nurses in Africa and made the point that investment in the technical workforce – especially in the nursing and midwifery workforce – is an imperative for achieving UHC.

Following the meeting, Mrs Saraki commented: “Dr. Moeti, as the first woman to hold the post of WHO Regional Director, joins Dr. Tedros – the first African to become WHO Director-General – in breaking new ground for Africa. We must push ahead and achieve healthcare for everyone, everywhere.

As the Founder-Director of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), I work closely with our midwives on the frontline, as part of the global Every Woman Every Child Strategy to end all preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths, including stillbirths, by 2030. UNICEF’s recent report “Every Child Alive” reminded us that although there has been tangible progress on maternal and infant mortality rates, there is still much more to be done. Five newborn babies die every minute across the world - 2.6 million tragedies every year. Of the ten highest-risk countries, eight are in sub-Saharan Africa. 80% of these deaths are easily preventable – which demonstrates the urgency with which Governments should treat their health systems.”

“In AFRO’s report, ‘The Africa Health Transformation Programme 2015-2020, A Vision for Universal Health Coverage,’ UHC was rightly described as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity and effort to change the continent’s future by working towards strengthened global health and economic security and achieving the goals of a new era of sustainable development.” I welcome the leadership shown by the WHO on UHC and I echo their call on all Governments to honour the commitments made to provide healthcare for everyone, everywhere.”

H.E. Toyin Ojora Saraki and Dr. Matshidiso Moeti

Dr. Moeti commented: “The WHO Africa Region is elated to be in partnership with the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, and we are particularly interested in strengthening midwifery education in Nigeria, as well as working with the WBFA to galvanize efforts across Nigeria to push this amazing country towards the goal of Universal Health Coverage.”

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