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Wellbeing Foundation Africa President Celebrates Women’s Achievements and Inspires Others at WIE Symposium London on International Women’s Day


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In commemoration of the success and triumphs of women around the world on International Women’s Day, the Founder and President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki, articulated her vision for maternal newborn and child health (MNCH), and shared the Foundation’s goal of empowering the lives of 5.3 million women and children in Africa by 2015 at the Women: Inspiration and Enterprise (WIE) Symposium which took place at The Hospital Club in London on the 8th of March 2012.

With an atmosphere filled with solidarity, inspiration and achievement, the WIE Symposium, under the general theme ‘Owning Your Success,’ brought together a diverse array of motivated women who shared their stories and exemplified their dedication to collectively achieving social change. Speaking on the ‘Unstoppable Woman’ panel at the day-long conference, Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki, who also participated in last year’s WIE Symposium in New York, expressed her commitment to transforming the lives of women in Nigeria, Africa, and around the world through the Wellbeing Foundation Africa.

Describing an unstoppable woman as “a woman who, despite all the challenges, is utterly committed to achieving her vision to transform lives wherever she is,” Mrs. Saraki’s unstoppable moment which led to the creation of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa in 2003 stemmed from tragedy.“When I lost one of my twin children during child birth, I soon realised that no matter who you are, what you have, you are at the mercy of the health system,” Her Excellency candidly stated. This heart-breaking incident then prompted the realization that the intrinsic flaws in the Nigerian healthcare system could only be addressed through practical action from all sectors—the public sector, the organised private sector, and civil society.

“My vision is to ensure that every woman and every child in Africa has their own personal individual health record and my intention is not to stop until that is so, for when you empower a woman you empower a nation; an empowered woman is a health-seeking woman, for herself, her children, her family and her community” Mrs. Toyin Saraki declared. To this end, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is committed to saving the lives of 5.3 million women and children across Africa through the distribution of the WBFA IMNCH Personal Health Records© which empower women with a documented record of their medical conditions, every stage in their pregnancy, and the life of their child for the first 5 years; thus giving them prompt access to the right care from properly informed health professionals. “With the Personal Health Record©, we have put a tangible Millennium Development Goal attainment tool in the hands of women, children and health service providers,”Mrs. Saraki stated.

The annual WIE symposium brings together prominent leaders from the worlds of politics, business, fashion, philanthropy, media, entertainment and the arts, in a full day of lively panels, workshops, master-classes and an inspirational awards ceremony. Also speaking at the London event was Brigid McConville, Global Director of the White Ribbon Alliance—an international coalition of individuals and organizationsadvocating for the availability of life-saving healthcare that will prevent needless deaths that occur during childbirth daily. As a member of the ‘Dreams for My Daughter’ panel, the WRA Director alongside other advocates put maternal and infant mortality into perspective. “If the mother dies in a family, the whole social network falls apart…Women have been silent for too long,” said actress Diana Quick.

The White Ribbon Alliance’s ‘Dreams for My Daughter’ campaign, which was simultaneously celebrated on the 8th of March in an exhibition by renowned photographer Joanna Vestey at the Women of the World festival at the UK’s famous Southbank Centre, aims to give all daughters hope for a brighter future and shatter the vicious cycle of low education, poverty and child marriage in developing countries. Sharing her own dream for her daughter, McConville conveyed that she dreams her daughter will see deaths during childbirth and pregnancy as a thing of the past.

Having been elected chair of the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria Board of Directors on the 23rd of February 2012, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa Founder- President Her Excellency Mrs.ToyinSaraki, the leading African Advocate for women’s health and empowerment through the Every Woman Every Child Effort of the United Nations Secretary General, also shares the dream of eradicating maternal and infant mortality. Having raised the national alarm on maternal mortality in Nigeria in 2004, she has worked tirelessly ever since to find practical multi-sector solutions and is actively creating strategic partnerships to ensure the attainment of UN Millennium Development Goals 3, 4, and 5 in commitment to MNCH. Forging beneficial multi-sector collaborative platforms under Mrs.Saraki’s leadership, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, a key African Philanthropic Organisation,continues to advocate for Africa-focused and Africa-driven life-saving universal access to quality public healthcare for pregnant women and children across the African continent.

Signed: Lore Dada
Communications, The Wellbeing Foundation Africa

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