I cannot believe how quickly time is progressing just over half way through my assignment, I have just returned from Nairobi, Kenya after meeting two of my main objectives during my time with Save the Children. The first was facilitation and co-ordination of a face to face meeting on Pneumonia. Pneumonia is a forgotten illness, killing in the region of 900,000 children per year and is the biggest cause of death in children under 5 in the developing world. In addition, as mentioned in my last blog it is preventable and is underpinned by having appropriate diagnosis, treatment, immunisation, water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition. A lot of the focus has been in other areas such as HIV, Diarrhoea and Malaria.
Over the past year, countries have developed plans on key priorities for tackling childhood pneumonia in their national settings and for moving forward key advocacy and programme implementation activities over the next three years. Over this period, we have fostered greater partnership with UNICEF, Every Breath Counts Coalition and the Ministries of Health, with the aim of building a movement of stakeholders to tackle this challenge together.
The face to face meeting in Nairobi was an opportunity for all experts in the areas of Nutrition, Health, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), Diagnosis and Treatment for each country to meet to discuss progress against the plans, where there are gaps, how we use innovation, to continue to foster joint programmes across UNICEF and SAVE the Children. The meeting included 60 participants across both organisations and is a key pivotal moment to drive key actions and advocacy to enable each country to develop joint plans to drive commitments which can be made for the Global Forum on Pneumonia due to take place in Jan 2020.
In addition, I took the opportunity to meet the GSK Nairobi team which further emphasised to me the global reach of our organisation and partnership with Save the Children, not only in the fight for Pneumonia but also in programmes in Diarrhoea and Malaria we are supporting as an organisation.
In addition, it was great to meet my friend and colleague John Reilly who is on assignment with AMREF in Nairobi. It was fantastic to hear the difference he is also making and amazing that he has also brought his family with him during his assignment.
The next step during my visit to Nairobi was going to Kampala, Uganda over the weekend after 47 years since my family left Uganda due to Idi Amin’s dictating all Asians to be removed from Uganda in 1972. I stood in the footsteps of when my father was young and my grandparents, visited the temple which was close to our home opposite the temple which no longer exists.
The next step in my journey was a project field trip to the Turkana district in Northern Kenya to understand the impact the programs are having in the community on the ground. This is an important part of the work at Save the Children to understand the work everyone is doing and how it has an impact on the child. The journey continues in my next blog …