Transforming the Agenda on
Small Vulnerable Newborns (SVN)
Hon Peter Mwarogo
CECM - Health and Sanitation Services, Kilifi County
Hon Mwarogo is a health planning and management specialist with over twenty years of experience working with leading local and international organisations in health. He has a Masters of Public Health (MPH) from Tulane University USA; a Bachelors and Post Graduate Diploma from the University of Nairobi, and numerous certificates of advanced training from Kenyan and international institutions. He has a passion for health and community development.
Dr Anne Kihara
President Elect, FIGO
Dr Kihara is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Nairobi, where she has worked for the past 15 years. She is currently the Division Chair of the UON- KNH Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Since 2021, Dr Kihara has been the President of the African Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. She is also a past President of the Kenya Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society (2013 – 2017), providing assistance on the Beyond Zero Campaign since 2013.
Additionally, she was a member of the FIGO Pregnancy and Non-Communicable Diseases Committee 2017 – 2021. She is involved in Women's Health advocacy nationally, regionally and internationally. She provides technical assistance in contributing to bills, policy, strategic direction and guidelines in sexual and reproductive health and rights.
She is passionately engaged in adolescent health and advocates for primary actors to use various ministry lines and community empowerment to meet their objectives. Dr Kihara holds a Fellowship from the East Central Southern African College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (2019) and a Master’s in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from the University of Nairobi (1999).
Ms. Akaco Ekirapa is a senior public health specialist with over 20 years working in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her strong track record entails working with governments, multi-laterals, implementing partners, private sector, civil society, and global think tanks. She is known for strategic partnership building, policy influencing and technical expertise in global health systems, monitoring and evaluation, public health research, and developing sexual reproductive health and rights programmes. As a passionate leader, she plays a large role in organisational development, diversity and inclusion and leading mental health and wellbeing activities. Akaco works at the Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office as the Health team leader in Nairobi, Kenya.
She provides strategic and technical leadership in the Human and Social Development Team, to ensure quality delivery of services in family planning, maternal and neonatal health, and universal health coverage across Kenya. Flagship projects include the DESIP Family planning programme operating in 12 counties in Kenya.
She also leads Maternal and Child Health Programme implemented by the World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund, UNICEF, Marie Stopes International/Options Consultancy Services and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. She holds a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Strathmore University and a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Minnesota. Her team is recognised for leadership in knowledge management at the British High Commission.
Dr Edna C. Tallam-Kimaiyo
Registrar / Chief Executive Officer, Nursing Council of Kenya
Edna C. Tallam–Kimaiyo is a national leader in transforming Kenya's health systems, through regulation of nursing education and practice. She is keen with business credentials and hands-on experience in developing national health policies. She holds a Master's degree in Public Health and Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Fellow of Afyabora Global Health leadership program. Currently, pursuing a PHD in Midwifery Education at Stellenbosch University. Edna graduated in 2018 in Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI)™ Programme and currently the GNLI Co-Facilitator in the Afro-Region.
Edna is currently the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Nursing Council of Kenya, she oversees the management and administration of the Nursing Council Kenya functions, legislative compliance, leadership, training, registration, licensure and standards of nursing practice in accordance with statutory requirements. She was part of Anglophone Africa APN Coalition project team; her contributions were on APN regulations. She has Supported the development of protocols and guidelines in Human Resource for Health and Maternal and Reproductive Health for COVid-19 Management; and developed Protocols for Universal Health coverage (UHC) health systems strengthening. A member of Technical working Group (TWG) for facility preparedness where she coordinated the identification and inspection of 273 COVID-19 isolation facilities and provided Technical assistance (TA) to the Counties in health systems strengthening for UHC.
She was actively involved in coordination and settlement of persons at the quarantine facilities at the onset of COVID-19 containment measures. Her interests are anchored in Strategic Leadership, Monitoring and Evaluation, Quality/Performance Improvement and Policy Development & Implementation. She has held a number of senior management positions in the nursing profession over the past 15years, working as clinical Nurse in National Referral hospital and an A National trainer on Emergency Obstetrics and Neonatal care (EMONC). She is also an executive member of the National Nurses Association of Kenya.
Dr Susan Wamithi
Aga Khan University
Dr. Susan Wamithi is a Consultant Developmental Paediatrician and Assistant Professor at Aga Khan University Medical College, EA. She is the Chairperson - Eastern Africa Academy of Childhood Disability (EAACD) and Early Childhood Development Project Director - Kenya Paediatric Association (KPA). Dr. Wamithi is a member of the International Pediatrics Association (IPA) Early Childhood Development Committee and the Governing Council of the International Alliance of Academies of Childhood Disability (IAACD). She established the first developmental paediatrics service at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi and collaborates locally and internationally on COVID-19 taskforces, research projects and educational sessions in the field of childhood disability.
Dr Bashir Issak
Head of Dept of Family Health, MOH
Dr Bashir is currently entrusted with the expansive role of overseeing the Directorate of Family Health, managing a range of vital divisions encompassing maternal & reproductive health, child health, community health services, mental health, and tobacco control. He has had the privilege of collaborating with a diverse spectrum of stakeholders, including government ministries, donors, regional and local governments, the private sector, academic institutions, professional associations, and communities, directing collective efforts to address RMNCAH issues comprehensively.
Dr Richard Muthoka
Deputy Head, Division of Newborn & Child Health, MOH
Dr Richard Muthoka is currently working as the Deputy Head, Division of Newborn & Child Health, and Senior Deputy Chief Pharmacist in the Ministry of Health, Kenya. He is a specialist Clinical Pharmacist with over 15 years experience working in Public Health, as a program manager in the Division of TB & Lung Health and 5 years as a County executive in Kitui county. Dr Muthoka is a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) and currently serves as a Board Member for the Pharmacy & Poisons Board. While working as a county government executive member in the MOH, he was involved in leading the MOH team towards reduction of both maternal & neonatal morbidity and mortality. As a devolved function, and so as to achieve significant results in Health, it was important to ensure the whole team understood the challenges facing the county, then design interventions that allowed timely response, ensure keen focus on strengthening 7 pillars of health care; key among these interventions include but not limited to; strengthening quality of healthcare service delivery, financial allocations, ensuring timely delivery of health products and technologies, monitoring and reporting of all achievements and challenges to ensure prudent and timely decision making.
Dr Job Nyangena
Head, Division of Health Information Systems, MOH
Dr Job Nyangena is a medical doctor and digital health professional currently serving as the Ag. Senior Deputy Director in charge of the Division of Health Informatics at the Ministry of Health. At the Ministry of Health, he oversees the implementation of digital health policies and solutions to facilitate the achievement of UHC. With a background in clinical practice, research, and digital health implementation, he is committed to driving innovation in healthcare through technology. His areas of interest include technology for health, health information system interoperability, and the unique challenges and opportunities these fields present in emerging economies. Before joining the Ministry of Health, Dr Nyangena was a lecturer and researcher at Moi University's Institute of Biomedical Informatics. In this role, he worked on digital health research and implementation projects focused on creating interoperable health information systems and scalable e-learning systems for healthcare. Dr Nyangena's interests lie in adapting and implementing digital health solutions in emerging economies. He recognizes the immense potential of technology to address healthcare disparities and is dedicated to navigating the unique logistical and ethical challenges these settings present.
Prof William Macharia
Aga Khan University
Prof William Macharia, Consultant paediatrician, joined Aga Khan University from University of Nairobi in 2007 to start academic department of paediatrics. He was previously also the Director of Clinical Epidemiology Unit at University of Nairobi, INCLEN Africa Secretary General and member of INCLEN Board of Trustees. His last substantive role was Associate Dean Research, AKU-EA till end 2022. He has over the years combined education, academic and clinical leadership roles. Prof Macharia and colleagues from US and Canadian established a research platform for evaluation of technologies for newborns in Africa (ETNA) in 2018. They have so far carried out accuracy and usability testing of two newborn point-of-care physiological monitoring devices (Anne Sibel – US and Early Sense - Israel). Findings of latest work on “clinical care bundle on use of caffeine citrate for apnea of prematurity” is in dissemination stage. He is currently the Kenya Country Lead, for Newborn Essential Solutions and Tools (NEST360) and relishes contributing to impacting on the lives of the small and vulnerable newborns in Africa.
Dr. Teshome Desta Woldehanna
Medical Officer - RMNCAH & Healthy Ageing Multi-Country Assignment Team- Kenya, World Health Organization
Dr Teshome Desta Woldehanna is a Medical Doctor and Specialist in Paediatrics and Child Health with 35 years of medical and public health service in child and adolescent health in Ethiopia, Nigeria and twenty East and Southern African countries.
1995-1999 Associate Professor and Head of Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, the University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia.
2000-2005 Child and Adolescent health program officer in the WHO Office in Ethiopia.
2006-2008 Medical Officer for Child and Adolescent Health in WHO Office in Nigeria
2008-2022 Medical Officer for child and Adolescent health for East and Southern Africa in the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa supporting 20 countries in developing and implementing child and adolescent health policies, strategies and plans including Early Childhood Development. In collaboration with partners, facilitated the operationalization of the Nurturing Care Framework through a multi-sectoral approach in the African region. Countries supported to integrate nurturing care into their policies, strategies, plans, guidelines and job aids.
Currently, responsible for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, child and Adolescent Health and Healthy Ageing with the Multi-country Assignment Team for Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda and Seychelles based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Dr Laura Oyiengo
Health Specialist, Maternal Newborn health, UNICEF
Dr Laura Oyiengo currently works as a health specialist, Maternal & Newborn at the UNICEF Kenya Country Office. She is committed to and passionate about innovation, driving change, achieving positive results while supporting & strengthening efforts to give every child, adolescent and woman a right to survive, thrive and reach their full potential.
Dr Anders Thomsen
Country Representative, UNFPA
Dr Anders Thomsen has more than 25 years of experience in Development and Humanitarian Assistance, with a commitment to promoting Human Right, Reproductive Health and Poverty Reduction. He is the UNFPA Representative to Kenya from April 2022. Prior to his appointment to Kenya, he served for three years as UNFPA Representative to Somalia and five years as the UNFPA Representative to Palestine. He focused on addressing Humanitarian and Development challenges related to Population Dynamics, Youth, Reproductive Health and combating Gender-Based Violence. Preceding that, Mr. Anders Thomsen was the UNFPA Deputy Representative for India and Bhutan. Prior to his assignment in India he worked at UNDP’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund Office, where he was Senior Portfolio Manager for the 700 million-dollar MDG Achievement Fund. At the same time, he led the development of a new system for administration of Multi-Donor and Multi Agency Trust Funds in the UN system. He has previously served as Resource Mobilization Specialist for UNFPA and as Programme Specialist in the Asia Pacific Division, where he covered South-East Asia during the Indian Ocean Tsunami crisis. Before joining UNFPA he spent six years with UNOPS both at Headquarters and in Eastern/Southern Africa where he focused on nationally implemented loans and grants from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Earlier, Mr. Thomsen worked for several companies in the Private Sector. Mr. Thomsen has been stationed in various countries across three continents; Africa, Asia and Latin America. He holds a double major in International Development Studies and Business Administration. He is a national of Denmark.
Dr Minnie Kibore
Senior Manager, Child Health and Development, CIFF
Dr Minnie Kibore is a paediatrician and public health practitioner with over 12 years of experience leading maternal, newborn and child health programs in Africa. She serves as senior manager for child health and development at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and is responsible for the perinatal portfolio that spans 6 countries across Africa. Her work is focused on perinatal health, nutrition, and health systems strengthening. She has worked on strengthening community and facility-based perinatal and neonatal care across Africa including the development and implementation of a package of interventions that resulted in reduction of neonatal mortality across 3 countries in East Africa. In her work to strengthen nutrition, Minnie led the development of a national human milk banking model integrated into newborn nutrition thereby providing life-saving human milk to thousands of vulnerable infants in Kenya. A renowned child health expert, she has provided technical support to Ministries of Health to develop sustainable, scalable service delivery packages for provision of quality maternal, neonatal and child healthcare. Dr Kibore undertook her medical education at the University of Nairobi, Kenya and holds a degree in public health from the University of Washington, Seattle, USA.
Mr Arif Neky
National Coordinator, SDG Platform
Arif Neky is the Senior Advisor for UN Strategic Partnerships at the Resident Coordinator’s Office and the National Coordinator of the SDG Partnership Platform in Kenya - co-created by the UN system and the Government of Kenya. He is also Chairman of the Task Force for the National Advisory Board (NAB) for Impact Finance in Kenya (Impact Investing Kenya) and Deputy Chairman of the East African Board of the Africa Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPA). He is Deputy Chairman of the Finance, Trade & Investment Network FINTRINET and a Trustee of the Agriculture Sector Network ASNET of Kenya. He also represents the UN Resident Coordinator as his alternate on the UN Global Compact Network Kenya Board and is the Chairman of the Standing Board Committee on Programs. He was the founding Coordinator of the first SDG Philanthropy Platform globally in Kenya, Founding Co-Chair of the EA Philanthropy Network and helped create the Kenya Philanthropy Forum. Arif is currently active in broadening the UN SDG Partnership Platform in Kenya to unlock significant private, philanthropic, intellectual and blended finance capital and collaborations to accelerate high priority SDG impacts. He has recently helped to expand its Multi Partner Trust Fund to support UN Kenya’s new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for 2022-2016 and beyond to 2023. As the former Regional CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) East Africa for over 13 years, Arif was directly responsible for a wide portfolio of programs in health, education, rural development and civil society enhancement across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Arif was previously the Regional Representative across Eastern Africa for the French & International Bank - Société Générale where his achievements included blended financing of selected development and infrastructure projects up to 250m French Francs per annum. He was also previously the Founder and CEO of the Microsoft certified Academy of Learning in Vancouver, Canada.
Dr Nidhi Leeka
Aga Khan University Hospital
Dr. Nidhi Leekha is a consultant radiologist with subspecialty training in foetal imaging and contrast enhanced ultrasound. Since 2015, she has been a practising consultant at the Aga Khan University Hospital, where she leads the ultrasonography department. Her academic passion is expanding access to ultrasound services in rural Kenya in order to improve maternal and foetal outcomes; she is involved in a number of initiatives and has received a number of prestigious grants to achieve this objective. She is the current treasurer of the Kenya Society of Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (KESUMB) and a member of the world federation of Ultrasound's global ultrasound education task force.
Nancy Tabu Makau
Nancy is a hair stylist and a mother of one. She delivered a preterm baby after undergoing a rough pregnancy having previously suffered two miscarriages. Nancy delivered baby Precious at 8 months old weighing 1.7 kilograms.
Champion Mother, Pumwani Maternity Hospital
Stella currently volunteers as a champion mother at Pumwani Maternity Hospital. She delivered twins at the same hospital at 6 months old with one weighing 1.2 kilograms and the other 2.2 kilograms. Following her experience and emerging successfully with healthy babies through kangaroo mother care, she opted to support and mentor other mothers with small vulnerable newborns.
Founder & Executive Director - Zuri Nzilani Foundation
Ashley Muteti is a Maternal & Newborn Health Advocate and Founder of Zuri Nzilani Foundation, holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Combining her expertise in communication, technology, and social impact, Ashley's journey was shaped by a personal tragedy when she lost her first-born daughter to Preeclampsia and Eclampsia in 2018. Fueled by this experience, she established the Zuri Nzilani Foundation, a non-profit organisation, dedicated to advancing maternal and child healthcare in Kenya. The Foundation's initiatives, like the Check Check Campaign, empower women with vital health information and educate healthcare providers on pregnancy complications. Ashley's impactful work has earned her recognition as a Top 100 Kenyan 2022 and a nomination for the 2023 East Africa Youth Awards under the category of Maternal Health.
Aga Khan University
Grace Mwashigadi is a Research Specialist at Aga Khan University's Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, East Africa where she is involved in research design, coordination, implementation and analysis under the PRECISE Network Studies. She has a strong passion for maternal and newborn health with a particular focus on quality of care. She has over 10 years’ experience in clinical research management, qualitative research, quality assurance and stakeholder engagement in various research settings. She holds a Master’s in Public Health from Simon Fraser University, BC Canada. She is a recipient of former US President Barack Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders 2016 and Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Scholar 2017.
Paediatric Nurse, Pumwani Maternity Hospital
Faith Njeru is a paediatric nurse with 14 years’ working experience having worked 8 years in the neonatal unit with small, sick and vulnerable babies. She manages the human milk bank at Pumwani Maternity Hospital and is a kangaroo mother care nurse champion.
Deputy Office Director, Health, Population and Nutrition Office, USAID Kenya and East Africa
Lilian Mutea is a skilled development specialist, and an expert in Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH). She advises Governments and Partners on policies that Strengthen Health systems towards expanding Universal Health Coverage. In this regard, she’s worked with in-country, regional and global partners creating excellence in programs that contribute to Kenya's goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths and contributing to an AIDS-free generation. Lilian has a wide experience in the areas of Health care financing, Private sector engagement, Leadership and Governance. She is currently the Deputy Office Director in the Health, Population, and Nutrition Office in USAID Kenya and East Africa. In this role, she provides leadership to the HSS, and RMNCAH portfolios. Lilian holds a master’s degree in public health from Kenyatta University. She has also just completed her PhD in health Sciences from Ghent University.