Body & Soul

Saraki, Mohammed: Gaining acclaim at global level

It appears certain to be the beginning of blessed year for the women folk. They are getting appointed to dignified top positions in the world. Last Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation appointed Toyin Saraki as the inaugural WHO Foundation Ambassador for Global Health.


The wife of ex-Senate President, Bukola Saraki, is a global health advocate and Founder-President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa. WHO Foundation’s CEO, Anil Soni, hailed her decades of work dedicated to women and children’s health and empowerment. Soni highlighted Saraki’s tireless commitment to improving global health through her advocacy work.


He said: “Her energy and deep commitment to educating, advocating and fundraising on behalf of WHO Foundation’s mission, will make a critical difference to global health initiatives. “Her ambassadorship will enable us to power the vital work of WHO through the triple billion goals for a fairer and more equitable world”, he said.


In response, Mrs. Saraki said she was honoured to become the inaugural ambassador. She called the WHO body a force for good in the global health ecosystem, driving change to overcome pressing global health challenges. “I look forward to working with the foundation to propel one of the world’s most influential global health initiatives forward,” She noted.


Mrs. Saraki, is the founder/president of ‘The Well-being Foundation Africa’, (WBFA) and wife of former Senate President, Bukola Saraki. The newly appointed ambassador is expected to resume her duties this week at the third meeting of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) in Johannesburg, South Africa, where they will focus on the work of the World Health Organization in Africa in the context of the WHO’s 13th General Program of Work.


Mrs Saraki has been an advocate for women and children’s health and empowerment. She spent the last two decades advocating for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and the need to end gender-based violence and discrimination in communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. She leads the Nigeria CSO’s Primary Health Care Revitalisation Support Coalition.


She also served as the Inaugural Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) 2014- 2020, and she is a Johns Hopkins Women Advocates for Vaccine Access Champion, amongst other roles. Similarly, Nigeria’s Amina Mohammed, a former Minister of Environment, has been re-appointed United Nations, UN’s Deputy Secretary-General. UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, disclosed the re-appointment in a statement that the former Minister would continue in her role during his second term.


“Ms. Mohammed’s leadership helped advance the conceptual shift from the UN that memberstates called for in adopting the Sustainable Development Goals.


“Over the last five years, the United Nations Sustainable Development Group was strengthened to enhance global leadership and oversight for development and the United Nations established a strengthened United Nations Resident Coordinator system as the foundation of a more effective development system,” the UN said in a statement. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Mohammed served as Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action and efforts to protect the natural environment. Ms. Mohammed first joined the United Nations in 2012 as Special Adviser to former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon with the responsibility for post-2015 development planning. She led the process that resulted in global agreement around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Ms. Mohammed began her career working on the design of schools and clinics in Nigeria.


She served as an advocate focused on increasing access to education and other social services, before moving into the public sector, where she rose to the position of adviser to four successive Presidents on poverty, public sector reform, and sustainable development. Ms. Mohammed has been conferred with several honorary doctorates and has served as an adjunct professor, lecturing on international development.


The recipient of various global awards, Ms. Mohammed has served on numerous international advisory boards and panels. She is the mother of six children and has two grandchildren.




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