Africa: Toyin Saraki leads High-Level Child Health and Malaria Forum at the United Nations General Assembly; joins global health leaders to launch Access Challenge One by One: Target 2030

Toyin Ojora Saraki with Jakaya Kikwere, former president of Tanzania, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General

New York — Toyin Saraki yesterday chaired the forum on Child Health and Malaria during the Access Challenge Universal Health Coverage Conference during the United Nations General Assembly.

The forum was one of four key areas explored by the conference, which also focused on Maternal Health, non-communicable diseases and neglected tropical diseases. The four forums will combine to create a Universal Health Coverage Policy Report with key recommendations for Governments, global institutions and organisations to achieve health for all.

The Child Health and Malaria panel consisted of Mr. Kevin Watkins, CEO, Save the Children UK; Dr. Kesete Admasu, CEO, RBM Partnership to End Malaria; Dr. Katharina Lichtner, Managing Director of the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation; Dr. Stefan Swartling Peterson, UNICEF, Chief of Health Section; and Dr. Henry Mwanyika, PATH, Digital Health Regional Director for Africa.

Following the Child Health and Malaria panel, Mrs Saraki commended the robust dialogue,  commenting: “This high-level panel provided excellent insights and policy recommendations, which will be essential to deliver upon if we are to achieve Universal Health Coverage – and indeed go beyond access to quality and equitable healthcare for all.”

“We identified the most effective methods of improving diagnosis and prevention of disease in low resource settings, highlighted the importance of African leadership in driving and directing domestic investment in child health and agreed the elements of  functioning primary health care systems.”

“Following the forum, I was delighted to spend some time discussing progress towards Universal Health Coverage and the barriers we face with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, former President of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete, and Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. All three are great champions for Universal Health Coverage – together we have a great urgency to achieve health for all.”

Toyin Saraki further commented: “The Access Challenge One by One: Target 2030 agenda aims to ensure that every person in Africa has access to the basic package of health interventions that will allow her or him to thrive. Our goal is to encourage every leader in Africa to sign a Universal Health Access Declaration, which will guarantee that all Africans have access to basic health services.  These include treatment for Neglected Tropical Diseases, skilled maternal care during pregnancy and community access to prevention (including immunization), and diagnosis and treatment.”

Toyin Saraki, who herself received the Speak Up Africa Award for Citizen Engagement at the United Nations General Assembly in 2016, also congratulated the awardees this year, which included Agnes Binagwaho, former Minister of Health in Rwanda, Achim Steiner, Administrator - United Nations Development Programme, and Regional Director for WHO in Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti.

As the United Nations General Assembly continues in New York, Mrs Saraki is further scheduled to deliver high-level UN advocacy speeches.

Toyin Saraki is Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives, Special Adviser to the World Health Organization regional office for Africa and Wife of the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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