In commemoration of International Women’s Month and Women’s Day on 8 March, World Economic Forum is highlighting the women who choose to take on incredible challenges. Six inspirational stories have been selected, in a varied selection of women from all over the globe.
On the African front, Dr. Neema Kaseje was picked for her outstanding medical work and contribution on the frontlines in Siaya, Kenya, to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and provide equitable youth opportunities in the region.
Dr. Kaseje, a surgeon at Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) and Founder of Surgical Systems Research Group, realised that to close the gap in Covid-19 cases, there needed to be adequate training and capacity building for both hospital and community healthcare workers.
By providing a comprehensive approach, her organization trained 1,300 healthcare workers to support minor and advanced COVID-19 patients. By leveraging technology, they could digitise processes to get real-time data to help make informed policy decisions and take immediate action to curb the pandemic.
The pandemic hit youth, particularly young girls, the hardest in Siaya. With school closures, Dr. Kaseje saw a rise in teenage pregnancies. She built a network of leadership and mentorship groups reaching 800 young girls to realize their potential while also providing essential needs like sanitary pads that are difficult to afford.
So far, 99% of the young girls are back at school, and of the 400 she has checked in on, zero pregnancies have been reported. I have had the privilege of sharing her work over the past year, and every time I am in awe of her resilience. As a surgeon, Dr. Kaseje could be living in a comfortable part of the world, but chose to make her impact much more significant.
“It’s hard to make an impact in your comfort zone,” she told Sarah Shakour, from the WEF. “Push boundaries with those who need it the most.”
— Wellcome (@wellcometrust) September 30, 2020
To meet the other inspirational women highlighted by the WEF ahead of International Women’s Day, click here.