First Lady Jeannette Kagame chairs first UGHE African Advisory Board Meeting

On 22 August 2021 at 10:33

First Lady Jeannette Kagame who currently co-chairs the African Advisory Board (AAB) of Global Health Equity (GHE) has called for concerted efforts to keep revolutionizing the health sector.

First Lady Jeannette Kagame made the call on Friday August 20, 2021 as she co-chaired the first virtual AAB meeting of the UGHE along with Prof. Senait Fisseha, the Director of Global Programs at the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation.

The duo was named to chair UGHE African Advisory Board recently on 14th August 2021.

Speaking at the first meeting held virtually, the First Lady requested board members to continue striving for transformations of the health sector leveraging lessons learnt from COVID-19.

"I am extending to you an invitation to keep trailblazing a new and health centered path forward, because 2020 taught us many lessons on how interconnected we are as a global community. We can no longer afford to maintain the status quo," she said.

UGHE is an institution that strives to train the next generation of global health professionals committed to providing equitable healthcare for all in Africa and beyond, with a focus on the most vulnerable. The creation of the AAB is critical to ensuring that UGHE’s work is informed by the local context vis-a-vis the wealth of knowledge and experience of African leaders on the continent.

Prof. Senait Fisseha highlighted that the opening of the university in Rwanda was an optimal choice.

“It is no accident that the University of Global Health Equity was born in Rwanda, which has for so long been a beacon of hope and an inspiration not just for those of us on the continent, but globally. This is what resilience, perseverance, and the road map to equity looks like,” he said.

During the meeting, the board members pledged to support UGHE to educate young leaders to be able to strengthen health sectors as a pillar of economic development and stability worldwide, especially in Africa. With this far-reaching mission, they are ready to accompany UGHE as it implements flexible and innovative solutions to address complex global health issues on the African continent and beyond. They will also advise on the creation of research and the needed types of professionals, as well as the collaboration required for future self-reliance based on Africa’s health needs.

Prof. Agnes Binagwaho, Vice- Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity said that the university looks forward to continuing the dialogue expected to ‘provide invaluable recommendations to UGHE as it works to attain excellence in global health education’.

“Ultimately, we hope that this provision of quality education will improve the health of the population worldwide, especially that of the most vulnerable in Africa,” she noted.

The conversation also highlighted the importance of synergizing regional efforts and improving the quality and quantity of the healthcare workforce and delivery, to guide the way forward for the institution’s strategic development to build healthcare systems in Africa and other parts of the world.

Other participants include Prof. Paul Farmer, the Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity who stressed the need to work hard to position UGHE as one important legacy of the Rwandan renaissance.

Inaugurated in 2018, UGHE releases graduates with Bachelor and Master’s in global health sciences.

UGHE focuses on quality, innovation and scientific-based learning and requires that students learn from and live within the communities facing the aforementioned constraints to healthcare access. By situating the university in the rural North of Rwanda, it provides proximity education that exposes our students to the challenges that they will be tasked to address on the continent.

Through a community-based learning approach that leverages community members as teachers, students are equipped with a deep understanding of the needs of the vulnerable, positioning them to adequately address them in their future professional life. By applying these principles, UGHE breaks down traditional boundaries between academic disciplines, fostering interprofessional teaching and learning.

First Lady Jeannette Kagame has chaired the first UGHE African Advisory Board Meeting.