As the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) convenes to address shared global challenges, Mrs Toyin Saraki has called on Commonwealth leaders to commit to Universal Health Coverage and to place midwives at the heart of their health systems.
The summit theme ‘Towards a common future’ demonstrates a focus on building on the strengths of the Commonwealth to ensure it delivers a more prosperous, secure, sustainable and fair future for all its citizens.
Heads of Government will meet in London and Windsor, following the opening of the Commonwealth Youth Forum by Prince Harry and the opening of the Women’s Forum by the Commonwealth Secretary-General.
In a goodwill message to the Voices Together Forum – an event focused on ‘Women in Leadership’, she urged the heads of governments in commonwealth states to work towards actualizing universal health coverage in their countries.
“The meetings of Commonwealth Heads of Government this week present a historic opportunity to place Universal Health Coverage at the top of their policy agenda.”
“Full implementation of UHC will ensure that everyone has access to quality health services without facing financial hardship, irrespective of where they live or who they are.
“UHC not only provides ‘Health For All’ but also reduces poverty, drives economic growth and promotes gender equality.”
“It is only by strengthening primary health frontlines where the battle for lives and wellbeing are won and lost, that we can work to build the resilience to respond to global health security challenges, and deliver demographic dividend to commonwealth citizens, and all of humanity.”
“Leaders should therefore commit to putting midwives at the heart of improving our health systems.
“In many Commonwealth nations there is a serious lack of qualified midwives. At the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), midwives are key to our life-saving work, providing antenatal classes to a global standard and supporting women and their infants to stay alive and thrive.”
“I call on all leaders to adopt the Midwifery Services Framework (MSF) for Developing Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health (SRMNH) Services by Midwives.
“This tool, developed by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and partners, supports the development and strengthening of midwifery services across all countries focusing on a quality midwifery workforce.”
Mrs Saraki is Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), Special Adviser to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa (AFRO), and Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM). Mrs Saraki is also Chair of Nigeria’s Primary Health Care Revitalisation Support Group, which is co-chaired by House of Representatives members Hon Chike Okafor and Hon Mohammed Usman.