H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), yesterday delivered a keynote address to Devex World, the global media group for international development, at a high-level conference in Washington D.C.
Mrs Saraki addressed delegates on the subject of the ‘data revolution’ and its impact upon maternal and infant health outcomes – the founding mission of her Foundation.
In her address, Mrs Saraki called for frontline healthcare workers to imbibe new technology use and data innovations, such as the WBFA’s virtual and practical training programmes for midwives and doctors:
According to her “Rapid data & feedback allows health workers to act quickly and effectively. That should feed in to longer-term policy changes. Hands-on training is crucial but combined with virtual training we can reach far more health workers and use the data to assess need and impact.”
“WBFA MamaCare Midwives have proven to be the ones with the direct line to mothers and newborns. They can bring detailed, immediate information to shape policy.”
“They have shown that even relatively simple technology can transform maternal and child health outcomes over a huge area. The WBFA WhatsApp groups have, for example, proven to be hugely popular with expectant and new mothers. Questions and worries are shared within that community 24 hours a day – and handled expertly by our qualified midwives. Of course, whilst our MamaCare classes do not yet operate throughout Nigeria, friends and family of those already in the group from all over the country are added, giving a huge scope to the community – which is constantly changing, as mothers leave to make space for newly expectant mothers. It also allows MamaCare midwives to attend to emergencies swiftly and discreetly.”
Mrs Saraki also addressed a multilateral roundtable comprised of technical experts and Government representatives focused on effective techniques to combat malaria, here, she emphasized the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH):
She stated “Whilst I welcome innovations to combat malaria, including the use of drones to monitor and tackle swarms, we must do the basics right. Currently, the WASH conditions in healthcare facilities, schools and communities across Nigeria and in much of Africa create breeding grounds for mosquitoes, defeating attempts to eradicate this deadly disease.”
“I have launched a global WASH campaign which addresses this precise issue. Sanitary conditions are essential to combat any disease and keep communities health and safe.”
Earlier this week, Mrs Saraki had been invited to mentor young global health leaders who aspire to create their own foundations, before she undertook further advocacy meetings.