Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Toyin Saraki delivered the afternoon Keynote Speech at the Cambridge-Africa Day hosted by the University of Cambridge, Emmanuel College. Cambridge-Africa Day brings together leaders in African research partnerships and projects to showcase their collaborations and research on the topics of conservation, anthropology, and mental and maternal health and wellbeing.
Mrs Saraki commenced her address by recognising the importance of academic institutional engagement in shaping policy around health.
“Academia and knowledge transformation is a wholly worthy cause. However, what is of greater interest to the WBFA is how academic research trickles down to affect individuals at a community level,” said Mrs. Saraki, “I believe that research should serve the dual effect of informing academia and policy, as well as providing data and tools that build capacity that transform knowledge acquired by research into tangible action and results.”
The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) has been committed to research, policy and data since its inception in 2004. Since 2015, the organisation’s premier partnership with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Johnson and Johnson has delivered the Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care training programme for accredited further education to midwives and medical workers in Kwara State. As one of three MamaCare educational programmes, including the Antenatal Education Programme and the recently launched Adolescent Skills & Drills Personal Social and Health Education Curriculum, the Wellbeing Foundation’s MamaCare Skills and Drills program has continued to train some 320 midwives across Nigeria. To date, no MamaCare midwife has recorded maternal or newborn death since receiving this life-saving and life-giving upskilling training.
WBFA and the Founder-President have continuously advocated for better health and gender data collection and publication. The WBFA Personal Health Record allows families and health professionals to track the progress of a pregnancy, to register the birth and record immunisation and health information. On International Girl of the Day Child, October 15th, Mrs Saraki committed to partnering with Nigerian Federal Government in ensuring that all Nigerian Children have a PHR in the next 5 years.
Today at the Cambridge- Africa Day, Mrs Saraki emphasised the importance of collaborations, research and data in Africa: “There must be data revolution in Africa, to give us an accurate indication of who, what and where our attention is needed. Partnerships and collaborations between the UK and African institutions – such as the University of Cambridge – can and will provide the key that Africa needs to unlock its potential, and on behalf of the WBFA I thank the University of Cambridge for recognising the necessity of education to achieve this end.” HE Toyin Saraki.