GE joins Women in Global Health Movement to celebrate exemplary women leaders in global healthcare

The Women in Global Health (WGH) Movement honored Kenya’s Mercy Owuor of Lwala Community Alliance alongside 12 other women at the movement’s “Heroines of Health” gala event that took place last evening in the Swiss Capital Geneva, on the margins of the ongoing World Health Assembly.

WGH is a movement that strives for greater gender equality in global health, and is dedicated to empowering female leaders of today and improving the global health of tomorrow [1]. It is recognizing Mercy for her role in the “help a child reach their 5th birthday” initiative that is championed by the Lwala Community Alliance initiative. This initiative strives to extend clinical services and community outreach efforts to children under the age of 5 in order to reduce under-5 mortality in the community by 64% [2].

Mercy Owuor is the community programs director for Lwala Community Alliance in Migori, Kenya, where she oversees the Kenya program team, leads and directs the execution of the annual program plan. Lwala Community Alliance is a community-led innovator, tackling the multidimensional drivers of poor health. It works with primary care facilities and the communities to drastically reduce maternal and child mortality in western Kenya, by tackling the key drivers of deaths – unplanned pregnancies, mother-to-child transmission of HIV, poor prenatal care, unskilled deliveries, poor clinical practices, lack of emergency transport, and delayed treatment of childhood illnesses [3].

In 2016, the Alliance was selected as one of the 17 Social Enterprises (http://APO.af/t7sHuF) that took part in the Healthymagination Mother and Child Program, an accelerator initiative of GE Healthymagination (www.GE.com/about-us/healthymagination) and the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship (www.SCU.edu/MillerCenter). Designed to equip the participating social enterprises to scale up their businesses and attract additional investment, the program involves a three-day, in-person workshop, followed by a six-month online accelerator program that included weekly, in-depth mentoring from Silicon Valley-based executives who themselves have undergone rigorous selection and training as social entrepreneur mentors at the Miller Center, as well as GE business leaders. Participating social entrepreneurs get to acquire business fundamentals, improve their strategic thought processes, and articulate a business plan that demonstrates impact, growth and long-term financial sustainability.

“We are thrilled for Mercy and for the Lwala Community Alliance for this well-deserved recognition” said Robert Wells, Executive Director, GE Healthymagination. “We believe that social enterprises such as these are a key part of the formula that is required to innovatively and sustainably bring quality care to communities in otherwise underserved areas. It is for this reason that we launched the healthymagination Mother and Child programme to equip amazing individuals such as Mercy that are striving to increase the quality, access and affordability of maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa”

As one of the key partners of the WGH movement, GE Healthcare actively supports its’ vision to elevate and support the role of women in healthcare, whilst creating gender responsive leaders in global health.

“Mercy, together with her colleagues at Lwala, has dedicated her life to work within her community to bring accessible and innovative healthcare delivery solutions that not only address care, but also prevention and healthy behavior. She is indeed a great ambassador for the many women leaders in Africa and the world over, that are striving to serve the 5.8 billion people with little to no access to quality healthcare,” said Terri Bresenham, President and CEO, Sustainable Healthcare Solutions, GE Healthcare. “At GE, we are very proud to be associated with the Women in Global Health Campaign and its’ amazing honorees, and look forward to continuing to partner with them for a healthier world.”

[1] Women in Global Heath. Available from www.WomenInGH.org/about. Last accessed May 2017.
[2] Lwala Community Alliance, Programs. Available from http://LwalaCommunityAlliance.org/programs/health. Last accessed May 2017.
[3] Lwala Community Alliance, Impact Report: Maternal and Child Health, 2016. Available from http://APO.af/675JlY. Last accessed May 2017.

Distributed by APO on behalf of GE.

Media contact:
Annette Mutuku
Culture Communication Leader, Africa
GE Global Growth Organization
E: Annette.Mutuku@GE.com
T: +254204215109

About GE’s Healthymagination:
GE is challenging the status quo of global healthcare quality, access and affordability to bring better health to more people. Healthymagination is an innovation catalyst for global health challenges. It means healthy people, healthy communities, healthy employees and innovative tools for better healthcare. We draw on our people, technical expertise and global scale to address the world’s biggest health challenges. We continuously develop and invest in innovations that deliver high-quality, more affordable healthcare to more people around the world. For more information about GE Healthymagination, visit www.GE.com/about-us/healthymagination.

About GE Healthcare:
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services to meet the demand for increased access, enhanced quality and more affordable healthcare around the world. GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter – great people and technologies taking on tough challenges. From medical imaging, software & IT, patient monitoring and diagnostics to drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and performance improvement solutions, GE Healthcare helps medical professionals deliver great healthcare to their patients. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.GEhealthcare.com.

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship:
Founded in 1997, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University in California. Miller Center accelerates global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. Its strategic focus is on poverty eradication through its three areas of work: The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI), Impact Capital, and Education and Action Research. To learn more about Miller Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit www.SCU.edu/MillerCenter.

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On the International Day for Biological Diversity UNWTO announces a training on tourism and biodiversity in West and Central Africa

The Convention on Biological Diversity of the United Nations has chosen ‘Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism’ as the theme for the International Day for Biological Diversity, celebrated today 22 May 2017. On this occasion, UNWTO is launching a capacity building programme on sustainable tourism and biodiversity protection, to be implemented in West and Central Africa.

The programme will build on previous tourism and biodiversity seminars that UNWTO successfully delivered in The Gambia, Ghana, and Tanzania and will address biodiversity conservation and environmental protection, taking into account the importance of this topic to safeguard future opportunities for local people to generate income from sustainable tourism development.

The seminars to be held staring June 2017 will focus on building capacities of tourism stakeholders and on maintaining and improving the quality of the tourism product to enhance client satisfaction in the following countries: Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea (Conakry), and Niger.

Primary beneficiaries of the capacity building programme are tourism employees and small entrepreneurs at the grass root level who will be encouraged to act as champions for biodiversity conversation and environmental protection in their enterprises and communities.

The contribution of tourism to conservation is increasingly recognized by the international community. The Cancun Declaration on Mainstreaming the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity for Wellbeing was released on the occasion of COP 13, (the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity) held in Mexico last December. The Declaration recalls that “tourism is an excellent vehicle to use in spreading environmental awareness worldwide, not to mention the livelihood support it provides for communities living in and around reserves and natural areas” and recognises that tourism can be an enabling agent of change.

Through these training seminars, UNWTO continues its long-standing work in strengthening capacities of tourism stakeholders in gaining a better understanding of the relationship between tourism and environmental protection, developing tourism products based on the unique biodiversity in a destination and using tourism development as an incentive to invest in biodiversity conservation and environmental protection.

Distributed by APO on behalf of World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

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IMF Reaches Staff-Level Agreement on a Second Staff-Monitored Program with Somalia

  • IMF staff welcomes the authorities’ continued commitments to policy and reform implementation despite daunting challenges
  • The Somali authorities and the IMF reach a staff-level agreement on the completion of the second and final review of the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) and on a second SMP
  • The IMF welcomes the authorities’ continued progress on currency reform

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Mohamad Elhage visited Nairobi, Kenya from May 15-19 to conduct discussions on the second and final review of the SMP and a follow-up SMP. The team met with the Somali authorities to discuss the latest economic developments and review implementation of reforms under the SMP.

At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Elhage issued the following statement:

“In February 2017, the IMF Executive Board concluded the second Article IV Consultation with Somalia since 1989. At the same time, Somalia also completed the first review of the SMP, marking another important milestone in normalizing relations with international financial institutions. This SMP had been approved by the IMF’s Managing Director at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) on May 27, 2016 (See Press Release No. 16/248). Cementing a further step toward normalization, in early February 2017, the Somali people held their second democratic and peaceful election since the end of the civil war, sending a strong, positive signal to the international community. We are encouraged by the pace of reforms to restore key economic and financial institutions, and welcome the authorities’ commitment to the reform agenda under the SMP.

“For 2016, the impact of the drought on economic activity was offset by strong performance in the telecommunication, construction, and service sectors. Economic growth is estimated at 3.2 percent. Due to higher food prices, inflation increased to 2.3 percent from 1.4 percent in 2015. For 2017, as the drought is expected to continue, growth is projected to decelerate to about 2.0 percent, and inflation to increase to above 3 percent. Government budgetary revenue and grants fell short of program projections in 2016, leading to liquidity strains and accumulation of arrears. The authorities took corrective measures to prevent new arrears starting in 2017.

“Performance under the SMP is broadly satisfactory, especially in light of the difficult domestic environment. By the end of 2016, all but one of the structural benchmarks had been observed and five out of the six indicative targets had been met. The target on new domestic arrears accumulation was breached and revenue performance was weak. For March 2017, all the quantitative targets and structural benchmarks were met. The authorities are encouraged to speed up and deepen agreed reforms, particularly by passing the needed laws such as the Communication Act.

“With the SMP having expired in April, the authorities requested a follow-up SMP to continue supporting macroeconomic stability and capacity development. Discussions on the new SMP followed the recent London conference on Somalia, during which donors reaffirmed their support, noting the successful election and progress on reforms, while also stressing the urgent need to further improve governance, and advance and broaden reforms. The authorities have updated their memorandum of economic and financial policies (MEFP) for 2017-19, in which they outline important reform agenda.

“To reach their economic and financial goals, we believe that it is essential that the authorities’ policies include the following structural measures:

  • Continue to develop capacity and institutions. Despite recent progress, capacity to manage economic policies remain low and institutions are still weak. The IMF will continue to provide the authorities with the needed technical assistance and training in its areas of expertise.
  • Implement a sound fiscal framework and advance public financial management reforms. Prudent budget preparation, renewed efforts to generate higher domestic revenues, and improved cash management and expenditure controls will improve budgetary execution and outturns.
  • Increase domestic revenues. Broaden the tax base and enforce efficient collection of taxes and customs, based on existing laws.
  • Jump start financial sector activity. Develop and implement a financial sector roadmap to address obstacles to increased financial intermediation. Improve the financial sector regulatory framework and enforcement mechanism. In this context, expanding the regulatory umbrella to the mobile money sector will be essential. We welcome the authorities’ continued progress on currency reform.

“During the visit, the team met with Central Bank Governor Mr. Bashir Issa Ali; Senior Advisor to the President’s office Mr. Balal Osman; Representative of the Prime Minister’s office Mr. Abdi Abdullahi; and other officials. The team also discussed the MEFP with Finance Minister Mr. Abdirahman Duale Beileh. In addition, the team met representatives from development partners. The team would like to thank the Somali authorities for their cooperation and the open and productive discussions.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Swiss-Rwandan relations enter a new phase: development through vocational skills training and multilateral cooperation

“Today’s meeting is an opportunity to review the situation and open up a new phase in our countries’ relations”. This proposal made by Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter was welcomed by Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo during their official meeting in Bern. Specifically, the two ministers decided to expand relations in areas of shared interest, in particular at the multilateral level and in conflict prevention. They also reviewed priorities in the field of development cooperation, giving greater importance to vocational skills training, access to water, and good governance in the Great Lakes region, which also includes Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After the talks, the Swiss and Rwandan ministers signed an aviation agreement.

Rwanda has developed into an important economic and political player in recent years. In addition, it has become a stabilising factor in the troubled Great Lakes region. For this reason, the two states’ efforts at the multilateral level to strengthen stability, security and peace were a focal point of the talks between Mr Burkhalter and Ms Mushikiwabo, which took place in Von Wattenwyl House. The head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and his Rwandan counterpart agreed that conflict prevention is of key importance. Rwanda supports the initiative launched by Switzerland that aims to promote closer cooperation in the area of conflict prevention between the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the Security Council in New York. Mr Burkhalter and Ms Mushikiwabo discussed concrete steps to help contain or prevent conflicts. Topics discussed in the context of the two countries’ activities at the multilateral level included the abolition of the death penalty and the work of the Human Rights Council, of which both Switzerland and Rwanda are currently members.

Mr Burkhalter and Ms Mushikiwabo agreed that countries that are non-aligned and well connected as are Switzerland and Rwanda can mediate at the international level between groups taking different positions, and promote dialogue, and in this role carry out an important function. In this context, Ms Mushikiwabo welcomed the profile, as bridge-builder, on which Switzerland’s candidature for the UN Security Council is based.

The new phase in relations between Switzerland and Rwanda that Mr Burkhalter and Ms Mushikiwabo ushered in today provides for new impetus at the bilateral level. Vocational skills training is to become a new priority of the countries’ development cooperation with the aim of opening up new opportunities and prospects for the people of Rwanda. Switzerland will increase its support in this area as part of its new strategy for the Great Lakes region (Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In this context, five training centres will be established in close cooperation with the Rwandan government to train masons, electricians, carpenters, welders, plumbers, mechanics, and hotel professionals.

Furthermore, the new strategy gives priority in Rwanda to improving infrastructure, especially access to drinking water for the population, to creating a transparent system of tariffs, and to focusing more closely on governance, in particular encouraging civil society and independent media.

The ministers also discussed developing closer political and economic relations between the two countries. In this context, they signed a bilateral aviation agreement. After the meeting, Ms Mushikiwabo travelled to La Chaux-de-Fonds to visit companies active in coffee production.

Distributed by APO on behalf of The Federal Council, Switzerland.

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