The African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) today received the World Federation of Public Health Associations 2012 Organisational Award. The award is bestowed in recognition of an organisation’s outstanding achievements in and contributions to the field of public health and is presented every three years.
April 24, 2012, Addis Ababa
Dr. Teguest receives WFPHA award for AMREF's outstanding achievements in and contributions to the field of public health.Receiving the award, Dr Teguest Guerma, AMREF’s Director General, stated that AMREF works in the remotest communities in Africa, serving the most vulnerable people in order to achieve lasting health change in Africa. “We believe that the power to transform Africa’s health lies within its communities. We therefore work side by side with the people to build their knowledge and skills, so that they can transform their own health,” she emphasised.
“We believe that the power to transform Africa’s health lies within its communities." -Dr. Teguest Guerma, Director General, AMREF
She observed that AMREF’s credibility with local communities and African governments stems from the relationship and trust that AMREF has built over the past 55 years which includes learning from, influencing and partnering with various stakeholders to build long-term relationships and ensure solutions are holistic and address the breadth of the communities’ health needs. She gave an example of Ethiopia, where AMREF pioneered a Clinical and Surgical Outreach programme in 2006, partnering with the Ministry of Health, the Gynaecology Society of Ethiopia, the Surgical Society of Ethiopia and Addis Ababa University to increase access by disadvantaged communities to quality medical, surgical and diagnostic services. Each hospital in the programme is visited every three or four months, with specialists staying in the hospitals for up to a week, dealing with cases ranging from plastic and reconstructive surgery, to urology and orthopaedics and at the same time transferring skills to local health workers.
Transforming Communities from Within to Impact Health Systems
Dr Guerma noted that AMREF’s recognition in the public health arena also stems from the fact that AMREF strengthens health systems, particularly at community level, and develops human resources for health to alleviate the critical shortage of skilled health workers in Africa. AMREF has trained over 500,000 community health workers, mid-level health workers, and leaders of health institutions from over 33 African countries, she said, adding that eLearning, mLearning and ICT-based methodologies have been applied to rapidly and cost-effectively scale up training of the health workforce.
AMREF is recognised for its ‘outstanding work in public health’ in Africa. AMREF’s focus on women and children, who are central in transforming communities from within, has seen it launch an international awareness campaign called Stand Up for African Mothers, said the Director General. She explained that the campaign aims at training 15,000 midwives by 2015, in order to contribute to reduction of maternal mortality in Africa by up to 25 per cent. As part of the campaign, AMREF is also supporting the nomination of an African midwife for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize as a way of honouring African midwives, who work very hard in difficult circumstances to save the lives of mothers and children. AMREF also wants to encourage Africans through this campaign to raise funds for their own health development instead of always looking to others for money. “US$1 from every African will go a long way in training midwives and saving the lives of African mothers,” she said.