Welcoming New Leadership - Renewing Commitments


Amref Health Africa global CEO Dr. Githinji Gitahi with Nafeesa JalalAuthor Nafeesa Jalal with Amref Health Africa global CEO Dr. Githinji Gitahi

by Nafeesa Jalal

Author/event photographer Nafeesa Jalal is a Canadian-based global health consultant and researcher, currently doing her Doctorate in Public Health with the University of the Western Cape (South Africa). Having grown up all over Africa, and continuing to be involved with work there, she can attest firsthand to Amref Health Africa's impact and importance in the region.

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Anne Frank, the famous, brave young girl who died during the Holocaust is known to all for her courage and hopes for a better world. She has left us with the simple words "How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world?" 

It is with this mindset that Amref Health Africa began 58 years ago, and this same conviction continues to drive the organization to flourish in its work today. 

Who is Amref Health Africa?

Amref Health Africa is proudly Africa's leading health development and research organization. It was built on humble beginnings, when in 1957, three surgeons founded the Flying Doctors of East Africa. This has led to an organization today which Africans and the international community alike trust when it comes to making a sustainable difference in the region. Its projects are carried out through country programmes in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, South Sudan and South Africa. In addition, training and consulting support are provided to an additional 30 African countries. 

What is Amref Health Africa's Focus? 

No single organization can be everything to everyone; it is important to focus on a given area, to excel in it. Amref Health Africa has made their focus the health of women and children. Women are the base of African communities, and the health of the whole community can be improved with this focus. The organization concerns itself with skilled care of mothers before, during and after childbirth, prevention and treatment of cervical cancer, and proper management of childhood illnesses. While the main areas of intervention are maternal and child health, the organization does not ignore other critical issues within the African climate. HIV and Tuberculosis, safe water and sanitation, malaria and essential clinical care are also given ample attention through Amref Health Africa's sustainable projects. 

Amref Health Africa in Canada welcomes Dr. Githinji Gitahi

Leadership is key to any organization, as it helps define priorities, guide actions and guarantees accountability. Amref Health Africa has been fortunate in attracting remarkable leadership, and the executive committee consists of individuals with a shared vision and commitment without compromise. 

On June 1st, 2015, Dr. Gitahi joined the organization as its new global CEO. His extensive experience in the African region, with other humanitarian organizations, various African governments and the private sector has made him an ideal candidate for the position.   

On September 24th, 2015, the Amref Health Africa head office in Toronto, Canada had the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Gitahi. An intimate reception was organized in his honour, which was attended by staff, board members and supporters.

food from L'il BaciOver appetizers kindly donated by the local restaurant  Lil' Baci  and various wines from the House of Mandela, the attendees got an opportunity to speak with Dr. Gitahi and learn more about his vision for the organization's future. A truly inspirational and charismatic man, he shared with all his hopes of focusing on education, knowledge generation, capacity building and possibly an Amref Health Africa university in due time, which will collaborate with other educational institutions in Africa and beyond. By the end of the night, his words and passion had ignited a renewed sense of enthusiasm in all, to guarantee that this organization continues to provide Africa, and particularly its rural areas, with accessible health services of the highest quality.  

Please enjoy highlights of the evening through the photos posted on the Amref Health Africa Facebook page. 

Why support Amref Health Africa?

We in North America and Europe live in developed societies which are privileged with sufficient and safe health care services. A continent away, unfortunately, this is not the reality. Africa is characterized with countries and causes which desperately deserve our immediate attention and support. Due to financial constraints, few of us can give to all that we want. Hence deciding on what and where we give has become a thought-provoking matter which individuals want to make an educated and informed choice on. It is important to contribute where there is the greatest impact being made, and transparency exists in the use of our donated funds. With each donation, donors want to feel confident that they have created a difference of some capacity.  

When giving to Amref Health Africa, one can be assured that their contributions are going to precisely where there is the greatest health care need. The organization distributes funds of up to $85 million per year, partnering with African communities to create stronger, healthier societies. There is upmost transparency in the financial distribution process, and there are local and international professionals and partners at all levels of the organization who are ensuring that the work promised is the work being accomplished. 

Amref Health Africa humbly requests of each Canadian to kindly give within their ability. Any amount, regardless of how big or small, will be received with the same gratitude. It is this support which makes it possible to continue their critical work. In the words of Sydney Smith, "It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little - do what you can." If there is a time to heed these words, it is now.

We invite you to please visit the website for detailed information on the organization, and various ways of contributing to their valuable work.

Amref Health Africa Global CEO Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Bridget Lawson, Anne-Marie Kamanye

Amref Health Africa global CEO, Dr. Githinji Gitahi, with the first Executive Director in Canada, Bridget Lawson (centre), and current Executive Director Anne-Marie Kamanye (right)