Rita Aizehi Aimiuwu Oguntoyinbo, founder and president of the Amen Healthcare and Empowerment Foundation spoke at the Reaching the Last Mile (RLM) Forum 2019, a biennial gathering of the global health community under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
The forum which took place on Tuesday, November 19 in Abu Dhabi brought together stakeholders from government, private sector, philanthropy, and academia. This year’s theme focused on “Accelerating the Pace” and emphasized the importance of how investing in global health is an effective way of protecting communities from infectious diseases, ending emerging health threats, and achieving greater global prosperity.
At the Heroes from the Field session, Ms. Oguntoyinbo – an innovative leader and community health champion based in Nigeria – discussed her work in providing treatment for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). NTDs are a group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases affecting more than 1.5 billion of the world’s population, with more than 133 million people in need of treatment in Nigeria.
Having been resilient in the face of adversity, Ms. Oguntoyinbo detailed her journey as a frontline healthcare worker who found passion in expanding health care delivery to others. Since 2015, her work at the Amen Foundation, has enabled her to collaborate with other partner organizations in providing treatment to more than twenty-two million people in Nigeria – specifically, Gombe and Osun states.
While addressing the crowd, Ms. Oguntoyinbo noted that “these treatments have had a significant impact by improving school attendance of children who had previously been prevented from going to school due to intestinal worms. People generally have become healthier and wealthier because the distribution of medicines has prevented sickness from NTDs”.