By Peter Ongalo
Last year, BBC revealed its list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for the year 2020. The 100 Women list highlighted those who were leading change and making a difference during these tough times. Dr. Jemimah Kariuki, was among the two Kenyan women who got the recognition for being remarkable in their fields.
Yesterday, during The 74th World Health Assembly #WHA74, Dr. Kariuki was recognized as a recipient of the World Health Organization’s (WHO)Director-General’s Award for Global Health 2021 in recognition of her contribution to advancing global health. The WHO Director-General’s Health Leaders Award is given to individuals with outstanding leadership in global health.
Dr. Jemimah Kariuki is a medical practitioner deeply passionate about preventive medicine, especially in maternal and child health. She is the founder of the Peace Club, initiated in response to post-election violence in 2007, and the Public Health Club (which is instrumental in running cervical-cancer prevention drives).
As an obstetrics and gynaecology student, she noticed a sharp decline in maternal admissions, but a rise in complications, during the Covid-19 pandemic – especially during curfew.
“The pandemic has affected everyone; you are not alone. Nonetheless, that thought nagging you each day may be your calling: do not be afraid to respond. You may be the answer to someone else’s need”, she said
Realizing that access to health care was delayed by limited transport options, she came up with a solution – licensed vehicles, taking women from their homes to the hospital. This led to Wheels for Life – a free ambulance service. She truly deserves the recognition.
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