Amref Health Africa (formerly the African Medical and Research Foundation – AMREF) launched its new name and logo yesterday at a colourful ceremony in Nairobi presided over by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mr James Macharia.
The event was attended by several ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps, senior government officials, partners, donors, community members, media and Amref Health Africa board members and staff.
In his speech to launch the new brand, Mr Macharia expressed his appreciation for the role Amref Health Africa had played in supporting the Government of Kenya in improving health and health services for Kenyans. He noted several examples of collaboration between Amref Health Africa and the Ministry of Health, including supporting the ministry in implementation of its Community Health Strategy through training and support supervision of community health workers; building capacity of senior health managers; undertaking and disseminating the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey; and improving health services in Kenya’s northern arid lands.
The Minister expressed his personal gratitude and that of the Government for Amref Flying Doctors’ recent airlifting to Nairobi of a baby who had been shot in the head by terrorists in Mombasa, and whose family could not afford to get him treated. He also cited the organisation’s work in improving maternal health and water and sanitation, which had boosted the government’s efforts and helped to reduce the burden of disease in the country.
“Amref Health Africa is a unique NGO. You are a true partner for the Government, which is why you are probably the only NGO whose patron is the President of Kenya,” he said.
Amref Health Africa Director General Dr Teguest Guerma said that the change in name was necessitated by the fact that the organisation’s scope of operation had expanded greatly over the 57 years of its existence.
“Amref has grown from a tiny outfit operating in East Africa to its current status as Africa’s leading health development non-governmental organisation. We now reach people in 35 countries in Africa, including West Africa. We have built a staff base of the most qualified technical experts in all our fields of operation,” she said, and added: “Our work across the continent confirms our position as a leader in community health. In 2013 alone, 11 million people benefited from our work and we trained over 160,000 people through our programmes and projects.”
Kenya Country Director Dr Lennie Bazira Kyomuhangi, described the organisation’s work and extensive reach in Kenya, and introduced several community members who had benefited from its programmes. “Amref Health Africa’s work began in Kenya before expanding to the rest of Africa, and our focus has always been on communities. They are our most important partner in everything we do. On behalf of the people who benefit from our work, I wish to thank the Government, donors and all our partners who have all played a crucial role in helping us to make a difference in these communities,” she said.
The vote of thanks was given by Lelein Kinyanjui Kanunga, who has been trained by Amref Health Africa as a peer educator for Maasai morans in the organisation’s Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights programme in Kajiado County. He thanked the organisation for the difference it had made in his community, particularly in improving the health of women and youth. He also thanked the Government for working with Amref Health Africa and all those who had given funds to support the organisation’s projects.