FROM September 25th, 2023
The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) and GE HealthCare have taken a significant step towards improving maternal and fetal outcomes in Nigeria by signing a Strategic Cooperation Agreement (SCA) to equip midwives and nurses with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively use ultrasound machines.
This initiative aims to empower healthcare providers with the tools to deliver better care to expectant mothers and their unborn babies. As part of this collaboration, GE HealthCare has donated eight Vscan ultrasound devices. These compact, portable devices are well-suited for use in resource-limited settings, where accessing traditional ultrasound machines may be challenging.
The agreement was ceremonially signed by Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, Founder & President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, and Mr Eyong Ebai of GE HealthCare at The Sofitel Hotel on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
In addition to the donation, WBFA and GE HealthCare are conducting comprehensive training for nurses and midwives which will impact over 96,000 mothers this year alone. These training programs in the states of Lagos, Abuja, and Kwara, include theoretical and practical sessions. Participants will receive hands-on training on the use of the Vscan device, covering basic principles of ultrasound technology, image acquisition, interpretation, reporting, and even basic obstetric ultrasound scans.
According to the World Health Organization, the Maternal Mortality Rate in Nigeria in 2017, was estimated at 917 per 100 000 live births; it increased by nearly 14% in 2020 to reach 1047 deaths2 with evidence suggesting that the increase in rates is due to three common signs of delay: in making the decision to seek maternal healthcare, in locating and arriving at a medical facility, and in receiving skilled pregnancy care when a woman gets to the health facility.
Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, Founder & President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa said “This collaboration between WBFA and GE HealthCare is a significant milestone in our mission to promote the wellbeing of expectant mothers across Nigeria. With the power of ultrasound technology, we can now detect warning signs early, ensuring the health and safety of both mothers and babies. By providing Vscan devices, delivering comprehensive training, and raising awareness within communities, WBFA and GE HealthCare is working towards healthier pregnancies, safer deliveries, and brighter futures for mothers and babies across Nigeria.”
Mr. Ebai from GE HealthCare said “We are proud to support the Wellbeing Foundation Africa in their mission to improve maternal and fetal outcomes in Nigeria. This will enable critical healthcare services in remote areas; GE HealthCare’s involvement supports our strategy in Africa to providing healthcare professionals with the latest technology, we are equipping them with the means to detect potential complications early, ultimately saving lives.”
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FROM September 19th, 2023
New York, United States – The year 2023, midpoint of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, marks a critical turning point in the global conversation around adolescent wellbeing and maternal healthcare. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa was proud to join the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting this September, bringing together influential global players to address the pressing needs of adolescents and to shine a light on a critical, often-overlooked phase of maternal health: the fourth trimester.
More than ten global organisations, including the Wellbeing Foundation Africa in partnership with Reckitt joined forces with Fondation Botnar to commit to action aimed at tackling the challenges faced by the world’s 1.8 billion adolescents, including water, sanitation and hygiene, focused on our programming, Dettol Nigeria Hygiene Quest.
Alongside this, at CGI, I was honoured to contribute to ‘The Fourth Trimester: How to Provide Postpartum Support and Reduce Post-Birth Mortality’, addressing the critical issue that demands our immediate attention: the fourth trimester, that often-overlooked period from birth to 12 weeks. This is a time when the delicate dance of mother-baby bonding unfolds, and mothers embark on the journey of physical recovery from childbirth.
This phase represents a time of profound vulnerability for mothers as they navigate physical and emotional changes, including sleep deprivation, hormonal fluctuations, and the responsibility of nurturing a newborn. Unfortunately, inadequate support during the fourth trimester can lead to long-term health issues, including postpartum depression, anxiety, and increased risk of chronic illnesses.
Nigeria, like the United States, faces similar challenges in maternal healthcare. Maternal mortality rates remain a pressing concern, particularly for black, asian and minority ethnic rural and underserved communities in the USA. In this pivotal moment in history, it is imperative that we recognize the urgency of these matters and take global action to ensure that mothers and babies not only survive but thrive during the critical phases of healthcare.
As we unite in our efforts to protect the wellbeing of mothers, their newborns and adolescents worldwide, let us forge a path toward a brighter, healthier future.
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FROM September 12th, 2023
London, United Kingdom: A global group of experts from the environmental, business, political, and philanthropic worlds have formed the 2023 Terra Carta Seal Expert Review Panel. The Sustainable Markets Initiative is announcing the seven distinguished panellists who will evaluate and select the 2023 Terra Carta Seal Award winners.
Launched in 2021 at COP26 by His Majesty King Charles III when he was Prince of Wales, the Terra Carta Seal recognises global companies that are actively leading the charge to create a climate and Nature-positive future. In May, the Sustainable Markets Initiative announced its partnership with Verdantix, an independent research firm that acts as a thought-leader for world-enhancing innovation. The Expert Review Panel will work with Verdantix to evaluate nominations and assess their alignment with the ten Terra Carta articles.
The 2023 Terra Carta Seal Award Expert Review Panel are:
Toyin Saraki has severally served as a judge on the annual MIT Solve competition of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and as a judge of the Cannes Lions Film Festival. Toyin also recently adjudicated as a Grand Global Jury Member of the Fight for Access Accelerator Nigeria, led by Reckitt and Yunus Social Business (YSB).
Based on agreed sustainability criteria, select companies are invited on an annual basis to apply for the Terra Carta Seal. Once invited, companies will need to demonstrate the success of a high impact, large scale company-wide project, initiative or strategy which aligns with one or more of the ten Terra Carta Articles. Verdantix, leveraging its 15 years of experience in climate and sustainability research and analysis, will support the Terra Carta Seal evaluation process by assessing the eligibility and impact of each nominated project against existing recognised global sustainability criteria.
Her Excellency Toyin Saraki, Founder-President of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), said: “I am deeply honoured and excited to join the esteemed 2023 Terra Carta Seal Expert Review Panel. This prestigious initiative, launched by His Majesty King Charles III at COP26, holds the promise of a brighter and more sustainable future for our planet. It is heartening to see global leaders from diverse backgrounds come together to recognize and reward companies that are committed to positive change for both our environment and society.”
“The Terra Carta Seal Award represents a powerful commitment to addressing climate change and nurturing our natural world. I look forward to working alongside my distinguished fellow panellists and collaborating with Verdantix to evaluate nominations and ensure alignment with Terra Carta’s ten articles. Together, we will help identify and celebrate companies that are making a real difference in the fight against climate change.”
“This initiative is a testament to the power of collective action and shared responsibility. I am eager to contribute to this important mission and continue the work of promoting sustainability and wellbeing in Africa and around the world.”
Jennifer Jordan-Saifi, Sustainable Markets Initiative CEO, said: “It is an honour to have such a global and diverse group of sustainability experts to be part of the 2023 Terra Carta Seal Awards. Building on our partnership with Verdantix, the Expert Review Panel will further ensure an objective and rigorous evaluation process, rooted in sustainability excellence, for all nominees.”
David Metcalfe, Verdantix CEO, said: “Empowering seven judges representing diverse organisations and countries to make the final decision on Terra Carta Seal recipients, embeds independence, expertise and objectivity at the heart of our awards process.”
Applications for the 2023 Terra Carta Seal Award close Friday, 29 September.
FROM May 18th, 2021
18th May 2021, 13:00 WAT
(Image Credit: University College London)
Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, today sent her congratulatory remarks to Nigerian-born Professor Ibrahim Abubakar on his appointment as Dean of the University College London (UCL) Faculty of Population Health Sciences.
A world-leading academic and expert in the field of infectious disease epidemiology, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar joined UCL in 2012, jointly appointed between the MRC Clinical Trials Unit and the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care as Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology. In 2016, he was appointed Director of the Institute for Global Health and also served as Vice-Dean International and External Engagement for the faculty. Prior to his appointment at UCL, he led Public Health England’s successful tuberculosis control strategy. Professor Abubakar qualified in medicine in 1992 and initially trained in general medicine before specialising in public health medicine through training undertaken at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia. He is an NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) Senior Investigator and was elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2020 in recognition of his research in infectious disease epidemiology and migration and health.
In her congratulatory statement H.E. Toyin Ojora Saraki remarked that the appointment of Professor Abubabar marks an important advancement for the health community, while recognising the global positioning of University College London as a leader for education and research in public health and clinical medicine:
“A leading expert in epidemiology, Professor Abubakar’s vital work and research in prevention and treatment of infections such as tuberculosis, hepatitides, and other common problems is incredibly important for vulnerable populations striving to build resilient and formidable health delivery systems to overcome high infection and disease burden and secure better health outcomes for all ages.”
“Widely published, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar has authored over 300 research papers, policy reports, book chapters and textbooks. His strong commitment to equality and diversity, excellence in the education and research community and tackling inequalities and social exclusion is global recognised. Through the Lancet Migration Commission, which Professor Abubakar has chaired since its establishment in February 2020, he is leading a global collaboration of researchers and stakeholders in the field of migration and health committed to building evidence in a bid to drive effective policy change.”
Her Excellency Toyin Ojora Saraki further stated that, “Professor Abubakar embodies the instrumental role that academia plays in collaborating with policy-makers in bringing health transformation. I was pleased to welcome the Lancet Migration’s focus on amplifying the importance of Universal Health Coverage for vulnerable communities, many of whom are displaced internally or seek refuge in a safer country.”
“For women, who, as mothers and child bearers, are especially affected by a lack of access to clean water, which has the potential to affect their reproductive health – this platform has spotlighted the critical need to ensure women have access to safe and clean water, an issue my Wellbeing Africa is passionately working towards. I am pleased and assured that Professor Abubakar’s contributions, on a global platform, will continue to usher in actionable change backed by academic insight and life-saving evidence.”
About Her Excellency Toyin Ojora Saraki
As Founder-President of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) a prominent African maternal, neonatal and child health and wellbeing philanthropy, Toyin Ojora Saraki is a global advocate for women’s and children’s health and empowerment, with two decades of advocacy covering reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health; ending gender-based discrimination and violence; and improving education, socio-economic empowerment, and community livelihoods in sub- Saharan Africa. Mrs Saraki is the Emeritus Inaugural Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM); Special Adviser and Member, Independent Advisory Group (IAG) of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) and a member of Concordia Leadership Council. She is the Save the Children Newborn Health Champion for Nigeria,, a Global Champion for the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, and was named by Devex as UHC Global Champion.
Learn more about Her Excellency Toyin Saraki on www.toyinsaraki.org.
FROM May 4th, 2020
Today, on 5th May, we celebrate the most momentous day in a century for the midwifery profession, the International Day of The Midwife, in the first ever Year of the Midwife, as the world is currently at a standstill fighting the coronavirus pandemic, an invisible enemy that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. It cannot be a coincidence that today we also celebrate World Hygiene Day, a day set aside to focus on hand hygiene: that simple act of handwashing with soap. Hand washing was originally propagated by the 1840 Physician Ignaz Semmelweis to midwives at his maternity wards, as the best means to prevent and control childbed fever infection—as puerpural sepsis was then known. Thus, midwives and their clean hands have established and led life-saving and life-enhancing infection prevention and control protocols for centuries. They are at the very frontlines of health, safely guiding new life, as the first eyes to see and first hands to touch a newborn child, as they stand by women all over the world in their hours of labour, delivery and need.
And they are not alone.
Health care workers, midwives, nurses, doctors, and the entire medical profession are at the forefront to save lives because they took an oath, an oath to serve regardless of the situation. They risk their lives to save the world in these unprecedented times. It is sad that during this crisis we have pushed to the background the work that we have put in over the years in various development aspects. I fear that this progress of prominence on the work we have put in reducing maternal mortality through they essential role of the midwifery profession in standing with women to ensure safer births will be threatened by a recession of recognition, and subsequent key investments as the focus shifts.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of all the nurses and midwives who have lost their lives to Covid-19. Their deaths are a tragedy and I join their colleagues standing with midwives around the world in mourning their beautiful souls. Each and every one of them will be remembered in our hearts as a heroine.
As always in times of crisis, the most vulnerable among us will be the ones hit hardest. Women and girls will suffer the most from this disease which has already seen a rise in gender-based violence, and rights violations of pregnant women forced into giving birth alone. Some will face child-birth complications risking the lives of both the mother and child, some will have stillbirths and some others will successfully give birth to the future leaders that will hold us accountable for the lives of their mothers lost during child birth.
The repercussions will be a constant reminder that for years we have failed and continue to fail women and children where public health is concerned.
While the world grapples in its response to COVID-19, we must be mindful that everything else still functions as before. We still require access to SRHR, women will continue to require prenatal care and safe spaces to deliver in order to reduce maternal mortality.
For years midwives have joined the battle and reduced maternal mortality ensuring that even in the poorest communities, women still had access to safe births. This is most likely one of those challenging situations for midwives in various communities.
Midwives continue to be an essential service in this crisis and we should do more than just applaud their hard work and dedication. How are we ensuring their access to protective clothing and reaching women in need. This is why on this International Day of the Midwife we are launching the We Must Applaud Midwives with WASH campaign that seeks to remind people on the importance of washing hands. As well as protecting frontline healthcare workers, WASH plays a vital role in stopping disease transmission yet two out of five healthcare facilities still lack hand hygiene facilities at points of care.
Ten Immediate WASH Actions in Healthcare facilities to Respond to COVID-19
BONUS – Preventative maintenance: Check on WASH infrastructure and undertake any necessary preventative maintenance, such as repairing possible disruptions to the water supply, storage, distribution or treatment.
There is much work to be done to ensure that the focus on WASH lasts beyond this crisis and translates into a radical change in how we understand and prioritise water, sanitation and hygiene. A key part of achieving that will be demonstrating that without good WASH standards, global health security is impossible.
Clean water is health and security, and clean hands save lives.
The ripple effect of COVID-19 runs far beyond the disease itself. We must stand in support of midwives, and the entire medical profession, to build a strong bridge between the global health community and WASH, in order to mitigate and heal the scars of this modern-day pandemic on medical workers, women, our newborns and humanity for the many years to come.
My prayers are thus reinforced as 2020 marks not only the Year of the Midwife but also heralds the Decade of Action and Delivery, designed for us to take deliberate steps towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Because midwives have supported women for centuries by delivering routine maternity care and counsel on a daily basis, we must use this opportunity to advocate louder and stronger together. We must mobilise women and policymakers to stand with midwives as midwives stand with women, newborns and their families. We must stand for the midwifery profession around the world to be recognised, respected and remunerated, and routinely provided with whole-system support.
FROM April 7th, 2020
Her Excellency Toyin Saraki, founder of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is set to launch a powerful new e-health check tool in partnership with PocketPatientMD which will make free ‘COVID-19 Health Check’ available to all 200 million Nigerians.
The digital e-health tool – soon to be complemented by a mobile application and an offline version – will educate the public on how to stay healthy; provide users with information about whether or not they need to be tested for the Coronavirus; give public officials critical insights into vulnerable populations while providing early identification of potential COVID-19 hotspots around the country.
“This is a first-of-its-kind tool in the global fight against this pandemic. This health platform has the potential to be an effective early warning system, accelerating the response time of public health officials with limited resources, and giving every Nigerian accurate and immediate health advice”, commented Saraki who is also the Special Adviser to the World Health Organisation Africa Office Independent Advisory Group.
“Our efforts will complement the heroic efforts of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and all those working to solve this unprecedented challenge.” Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), commending the efforts of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, noted that “it is important that Nigerians have the tools that enable them to take proactive steps to protect their health” as we work hard to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.
In the same vein, Dr. Sani Aliyu, the National Coordinator of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Response to COVID-19 has lauded the tool as “a welcome digital innovation to help Nigerians better understand their potential risks and symptoms and direct them to government resources for any required follow-up.”
The e-health check tool works by asking users a few questions in order ascertain whether or not they need to get tested for the Coronavirus. In keeping with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s directive on staying home to curb the spread of the pandemic, the tool refers users directly to both the NCDC and state government hotlines for medical advice on how to get tested. Mark Wien, co-founder and CEO of PocketPatientMD explained that the focus of the partnership is reach “as many Nigerians as possible, and we are honoured to partner with Her Excellency Toyin Saraki who has a global reputation as an advocate for the vulnerable and a champion of better healthcare for all.”
“We can only beat Coronavirus if we work together”, added Saraki. “Misinformation has become
widespread as we respond to this pandemic and this ground-breaking approach will only be as effective as the number of people who sign up and join us.” She implored Nigerians to “take the test every 7 days, or when their symptoms change, and to ensure that they are paying close attention to, and reporting any changes in their health status not only to stay safe but also to help keep our frontline health workers safe and our public officials aware.”
The e-health check tool is available for free at https://covid19.wbfafrica.org/ and users can access real-time updates on how to stay connected, safe, and healthy during the pandemic on Instagram and Twitter @Wellbeing_PPMD, and @WellbeingPPMD on Facebook.
The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) was founded in 2004 by Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, with the aim of improving health outcomes for women, infants and children. The Foundation combines programmes with advocacy work in Nigeria and around the world.
Through a multi-layered strategy of research, advocacy, policy development, community engagement, philanthropy and education, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa devises and implements programs which boldly deliver upon the stated objectives of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Three, Five, and Six: Good Health and Wellbeing, Gender Equality, and Clean Water and Sanitation, respectively. All Wellbeing programs address multiple intersections between these three goals, including, but not limited to further education for midwives and frontline community health workers, improved education around water, sanitation and health (WASH) for life-saving healthy habits, advancement of early childhood mental and physical health development, and, the fundamental necessity of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls for a fair and just society. The WBFA supports the 8 pillars of WHO’s COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.
PocketPatientMD is a free, interoperable, fully integrated medical platform currently in common African languages, available online and offline. PocketPatientMD allows physicians and patients access to medical information anywhere, anytime, safely, securely and at no cost. Stakeholders throughout the health system can easily connect to one another, leading to, cost-effective, higher quality care. PocketPatientMD works on any device (computer, phone, tablet) and with any operating system and can link to any lab, pharmacy, diagnostic centre, or application and be customised as needed.