Report from Vice President for Near East and Africa
The Near East and Africa Region has continued to impact on humanity through the work of the national associations. The individual reports submitted reflect how busy they have been.
- The office of the Regional Vice President is actively in communication by e-mail with 13 national associations including Cameroon, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Lesotho and Zambia and 7 individual members from Algeria, Botswana, Cape Verde, Iran, Mauritania, Morocco and Qatar. A WhatsApp page has also been opened for the region. This is still being populated as phone numbers become available.
- National Associations in the region attended the Global Coordination Meeting and are implementing aspects of the Strategic Plan document shared at the event.
- So far, the region is well represented in MWIA Committees and Special Interest Groups.
Members of the national associations have been busy with different activities in line with their planned programs, MWIA strategic plan and implementation of the resolutions of MWIA. This edition of the Newsletter Update has reports from the Medical Women’s Associations of Zambia (MWAZ), Ghana (MWAG), Nigeria (MWAN), Tanzania (MEWATA) and Zimbabwe (ZWDA). These reports cover activities embarked upon in the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. The activities reported are centred on the following areas.
Observance of Global Health Days
- Commemoration of Cancer awareness day specifically Cervical Cancer campaign held in January by MWAG, and MWAN with radio and television programs. Webinars on various topics including “Close the care gap” and “Get informed, Get screened and Get Vaccinated” were held. Women and girls were offered free counselling, cervical screening, breast examination, and hepatitis screening services.
- World Aids Day was marked by MWAN with awareness talks on radio, social media and to groups like prison inmates.
- Webinars were held by MWAN to mark International Day for Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation using the topic ‘Partnership with men and boys to transform social and gender norms to end female genital mutilation’.
- International Women’s Day in March was marked through lectures, awareness creation on radio and television with the theme “Equity in Health” by MWAG and MWAN. Specifically, MWAN addressed the topic ‘Digital Innovation and Technology for gender equality’. The Senior Members Forum held a webinar on ‘The Burden of Osteoarthritis in The Elderly’.
- On the 16 Days of activism against Gender Based Violence, MWAN also provided information on avenues for seeking redress and protection to secondary school students, women and girls in a Women and Girls Summit.
- MWAN marked World Oral Health Day – 30th March 2023 by media engagement, school visits, interschool debates on the importance of oral hygiene.
MWAG commenced a mentorship program, MWAZ had a second cohort of mentors and MWAN continued its existing Mentorship Master Class program. MWAZ also commenced training of women especially young doctors on soft skills and leadership.
Service and visibility
- MWAZ made a donation of gifts and supplies to women suffering from cancer in a Cancer Disease Hospital and hampers which included baby dishes, diapers, baby wipes and Vaseline to vulnerable mothers who delivered babies on New Year’s Day.
- MWAN held its parallel session at the NGO Forum of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) on March 14, 2023, with the theme ‘Harnessing Digital Technology for Female Empowerment’.
- MWAZ participated in a country leadership training by the World Bank.
- MWAG embarked on a vibrant socialization and membership recruitment drive to engage medical students and sensitize them about MWAG, MWIA and yMWIA activities.
- MWAN at its Executive meeting on 10-14 January 2023, examined its endeavours using the theme “Role of MWAN in the elimination of Obstetric Fistulas in Nigeria.
- MWAZ has published the first Flier on the impending NEAR Regional Congress scheduled to be held in Livingstone, Zambia from 16-18 April 2024.
- Women In Medicine Lesotho (WIML), the youngest National Association in this region have held meetings and developed its constitution which has been registered. It is in the process of completing its registration with MWIA as a member. The Interim Executive has Dr Lineo Mabusela Letlala as President and Dr Yolisa Mashologu as Secretary/National Coordinator.
National Associations in the region are working hard although some of them have not cultivated the habit of reporting their activities. Visibility is created for MWIA with each report and this attracts partnerships which we seek. Hopefully, national associations that were not able to send reports will do so for the next edition.