Report from Vice President for Near East and Africa

Dr. Claribel Abam

Dame Dr. Claribel Abam – MWIA Regional Vice President for Near East and Africa

Members of the National Associations in the Near East and Africa Region have done tremendous work that impacts their society and improves the health of the people. I am grateful to the countries that have submitted reports of their activities for the last quarter.

The office of the Regional Vice President has remained in communication by e-mail and WhatsApp with 13 national associations and some individual members.
The region was represented at the second MWIA Global Coordination Meeting and the strategic plan document shared at the first meeting has formed the bedrock of some activities being implemented.
Members from the region are also playing active roles in MWIA committees and Special Interest Groups.
Some National Associations are using the MWIA Facebook page to create more visibility for their activities. Thanks to Bev Johnson who is doing a great job with that social media handle.

Regional VP Activities
The Regional VP NEAR is representing MWIA at the collaboration with WHO on developing the WHO Framework for community readiness and resilience for public health emergencies.

National Associations’ Activities Report
This edition of the MWIA Update has reports from Medical Women’s Association of Zambia (MWAZ), MWAG (Ghana), WIML (Lesotho) and MWAN (Nigeria). These reports cover activities embarked upon mainly in the second and third quarters of 2023. They focus on the following areas:

1. Observance of Global Health Days
MWAN reported their Commemoration of the World Health Day, World Immunization Day and World Malaria Day, World Breast Feeding Week, World Menstrual Hygiene Day and International Day of the Boy Child. MWAG reported on the World Menstrual Hygiene Day.

2. Mentorship
MWAZ graduated its second cohort of mentees (medical students and interns), and MWAN continued its existing Mentorship Master Class program in some States of the country.

3. Capacity Building
MWAN held webinars on Leadership and Governance, Cancers (specifically breast and cervical cancer), Climate Change, and including the National Dental Association Webinar series on “Pregnancy and Oral Health”, “Norms and Myths of Tooth Eruption: Birth to Adolescence” and “Tooth Loss and Tooth Wear: Causes and Management”
Scientific sessions were held at two MWAN Executive Council Meetings held in June and August with the themes “Enhancing the Role of Women in Governance and Leadership in the Health Sector” and “Insurgency and Women’s Health: Challenges and Solutions”.
MWAZ held its Annual Scientific Conference in July 2023 with the theme “Embracing Female Leadership and Innovation in Health.”

4. Collaboration & Partnerships
MWAG collaborated with the International Papillomavirus Society (IPVS) for the launch of their Ghana branch.

5. Meetings
MWAN held two Executive meetings in June and August 2023 respectively.
MWAZ held its Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference in July. MWAZ has opened the website for the forthcoming NEAR Regional Congress scheduled to be held in Livingstone, Zambia from 8-10 May, 2024.
MWAG held a Constitution Review meeting virtually.

6. Newest Member Update
Women In Medicine Lesotho (WIML), the youngest National Association in this region has developed its constitution, registered it and completed registration with MWIA as a member. The Executive has Dr Lineo Mabusela Letlala as President and Dr Yolisa Mashologu as Secretary/National Coordinator.

7. Recognitions
Dr Eleanor Nwadinobi was inducted in Abuja into the Nigerian Women Hall of Fame on May 16, 2023
Dr Hawa Malechi, MWAG Northern Regional Chairperson and obstetrician/gynaecologist, was awarded “Outstanding Female Doctor of the Year” in June 2023. She also received the Presidential Honor for Distinguished Service from Ghana’s President, and “Youth Achiever in Health” from the National Youth Authority in July 2023.

National Associations in the region are forging partnerships, mentoring young ones, conducting webinars, and engaging in various activities to impact the world around them. Some of them are yet to cultivate the habit of regular reporting but hopefully, this will improve with time. As we approach the end of the year, more activities will take place and more visibility will be created for MWIA.

Dr Claribel Abam
Regional Vice President