Africa: Global Advocacy & Frontline Action - 2017 End of Year Newsletter

Wellbeing head Toyin Ojora Saraki and Dr. Benjamin Anyene of Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria co-chaired the Primary Healthcare Revitalisation Support Group meeting in Abuja last January. Attendees included parliamentary leaders and representatives from the World Health Organization, the One Campaign and UNICEF, the UN Children's Fund.

Abuja — "Midwives, and the mothers they care for, are heroines of global health" – H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki

2017 was an important year for the work of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA). It has however also been tinged with great sadness. Mrs. Felicity Aliana Ukoko, a 'Midwife Champion' who saved the lives of countless mothers and babies, passed away suddenly on Sunday 15th October.

Felicity's work with the Foundation since 2015, as Head of Advocacy and Midwifery, had a profound impact on the lives of premature babies, their mothers and communities. She successfully championed the WBFA MamaCare Antenatal and Postnatal Programme in Abuja, Kwara and Lagos States, utilizing her outstanding diligence and experience as a midwife in the UK to ensure vastly improved health outcomes. She will be sorely missed by her colleagues, WBFA midwives and mothers, and all whose lives she touched. Mrs. Ukoko is survived by her devoted husband Jonathan Ukoko; her daughters Melissa and Nasha; her mother; siblings and other family members.

The Global Health community also lost Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA. The WBFA always found Professor Osotimehin to be an indefatigably diplomatic and committed ally in our mutual goal of improving the conditions and outcomes for pregnant mothers, their newborns, children, adolescents, and their communities. The WBFA will work closely alongside Professor Osotimehin's replacement, Dr. Natalia Kanem, in her new role to achieve her stated aim of pursuing UNFPA's new Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and its transformative goals: ending preventable maternal deaths, ending unintended pregnancies by meeting the demand for family planning, as well as ending gender-based violence and other harmful practices by 2030.

This year the Wellbeing Foundation Africa launched our sister organisation, Wellbeing For Women Africa, which is an online youth platform that allows young people to tell their story and get paid for each article they submit.  This platform has given a voice to young people to discuss issues ranging from sexual abuse to mental illness. Discussions around these sensitive topics has given at least some relief to those who read these articles and know that they are not alone. Visit the Wellbeing for Women Africa site here.

The WBFA's Founder-President, Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, as a Global Champion for Universal Health Coverage (UHC), led high-level advocacy efforts this year, including at the United Nations 72nd General Assembly in New York in September. This advocacy was pursued by the Global Health community and matched by legislative progress in Nigeria. The Universal Health Coverage Forum convened in Tokyo in December and UHC is certain to be a major focus for the WBFA in 2018.

The WBFA is delighted to extend Season's Greetings to all partners, stakeholders, advocates and friends as 2017 draws to a close.
Thank you for all of your support this year, as you helped us to fulfil our mission of empowering women and adolescent girls, advocating for universal health coverage and reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality rates in Africa.

We look forward to working with you closely in 2018 and wish you a wonderful holiday season and a happy, peaceful and successful new year.

MamaCare Antenatal And Postnatal Classes

We are passionate about the importance of giving parents the best possible start to parenthood. Our classes are tailored to meet the needs of mothers and their families who want to learn about pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, care of the newborn and family planning.

The effect of our partnerships is transformative. Despite dire national mortality indices, we have not lost even one of our over 200,000 Mamacare mothers to death. Each mother has, moreover, achieved the new WHO benchmark recommendation of at least 8 antenatal visits, which is perhaps the secret of our 100% survival rate.

WBFA Maternal Monday Campaign 

After launching Maternal Monday in 2015, WBFA continues to use digital platforms to share life-saving information with mothers, campaigners, healthcare professionals and others around the world. #MaternalMonday

Gender Equality And Empowering Women And Girls

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, led by Mrs. Toyin Saraki, participated in an array of events from Monday, 20th February to Friday, 24th February 2017. The events were centered around gender equality and empowering women and girls in Africa, through various channels such as improved healthcare, education, safety, and freedom of choice, to let girls learn, let girls rise, and let the needs of women and girls lead public policy strategies, from birth to age.

International Women's Day

To mark International Women's Day, H.E. Mrs. Toyin Ojora Saraki, participated in the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) in Nairobi Kenya.  Other members of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa team also took part in national events and conferences. To see our full range of activities, click here. 

The UN Commission on the Status of Women

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa's sister organization, the Wellbeing For Women Africa, participated in the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the UN Youth Forum.  The team first attended the Youth Forum, which took place on Saturday, 11th and Sunday, 12th March. They followed on to the Council On The Status Of Women. See our full newsletter here. See our full newsletter here.

World Vaccination Week

In April, to mark World Vaccination Week, we advocated for an increase in vaccination administration by national governments on social media, local radio and policy discussions. The Founder, Toyin Ojora-Saraki as the Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA) champion took part in a live social media chat discussion on the importance of immunization. World Vaccination Week also marked WAVA's first quarterly meeting. Mrs. Saraki and the WBFA team continued the advocacy on local radio. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa was also given antimalarial medication from Pierre Fabre Laboratories to mark World Vaccination Week.

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