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Six young African leaders have joined the inaugural cohort of the SwitchPoint Future League, a new advocacy partnership launched by IntraHealth International with the Global Fund and ONE Campaign Africa.
"IntraHealth is thrilled to join these six outstanding young leaders in elevating the conversation about the future of global health—and how we finance it,” says Polly Dunford, president and CEO of IntraHealth. “Their voices and perspectives are essential to creating a world where everyone everywhere has access to the health care they need to thrive."
The Future League consists of young experts in diverse industries, each representing a different African country. Members receive guidance, mentoring, tools, and platforms for amplifying health financing messages through social media, in the press, and at a SwitchPoint Exchange event they will curate and host to coincide with the World Health Assembly in May.
“The Global Fund understands the power of young people—the future is theirs,” says Shu Shu Tekle-Haimanot, senior advisor for political advocacy and partnerships, resource mobilization at the Global Fund. “We want to hear youth voices and make sure their ideas, questions and solutions are represented in global forums and taken into account in global health policy making. These future leaders can help ensure that their governments, peers, and communities prioritize health financing for the well-being of all people.”
The program is designed to train and mentor a new generation of youth advocates to champion health financing in Africa. It pairs Future League members with health leaders, government representatives, parliamentarians and academia in their countries, as well as local technologists, artists, and activists working on health topics related to their areas of expertise. Through these partnerships, members will attend and report on high-level meetings, interview other African leaders, represent youth voices at international fora, and share what they learn about health policy, planning, financing, and strategy with their social networks in their countries.
“The ONE Campaign Africa is inspired to see a group of young people taking the lead and meaningfully participate in the conversations about planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating Africa’s health systems,” says Edwin Ikhuoria, executive director of ONE Africa. “Our ideal for the future is to see governments allocating adequate financing for the continents’ health care systems and making it accessible for its people to lead healthy and productive lives. We hope to see more youths participate in the program in the future and curate messaging that will start important conversations and hold governments accountable for their decisions.”
Debora Duwa Mtambalika (@DeboraMtambali2) is a Malawian drone pilot and local project manager for Wingcopter, a German drone company. She works on the Drone and Data Aid Project, which helps strengthen health supply chain systems in Malawi in hard-to-reach health facilities by shortening delivery of emergency medicines, lab samples, and vaccines from weeks and months to less than 30 minutes.
Debora is determined to utilize drone technologies to sustain health and well-being for the people of Malawi.
Zipporah Iregi (@ZipporahIregi) is a challenger in the Nursing Now Challenge Committee and a board member of the Royal Youth Mentorship Program in Kenya. Following her passion for nursing leadership and mentorship, she served as the first vice chairperson for Kenya Students and Novice Nurses (KESNNUR), a chapter under the National Nurses Association of Kenya, where she coordinated mentorship, leadership training, and professional development programs for young nurses in Kenya.
Zipporah is passionate about the development of her community.
Frank Mugisha (@mugisha_frank_) is a Rwandan-Ugandan multidisciplinary artist working in East Africa and beyond and founder and artistic director of the Instinctual Arts Company based in Kigali, Rwanda.
He has trained in contemporary dance, breakdance, and African traditional dances, which he fuses to create a unique artistic identity. As a creative facilitator, filmmaker, educator, and performer, Mugisha uses his art as a tool for self-expression and vehicle for social change.
Frank is focused on the continuous unlearning of all he's been taught as an African man that he feels belittles him and the ways of his people—and he constantly seeks to reinvent and remember new and ancient ways of being in balance with self, others, and his surroundings.
Yared Negash (@y_negash) is a junior health finance consultant at the Global Fund. He received his master’s degree in health economics at the University of York and studied increasing domestic health finance in Zimbabwe. Prior to earning his master's degree, he studied biomedical science at the University of Edinburgh.
Yared is Dutch and Ethiopian by nationality and grew up in Zimbabwe, so he also considers himself an unofficial Zimbabwean.
Cill Soul (born Chioma Ogbonna) (@cillsoul) is a singer/songwriter and guitarist based in Lagos State, Nigeria. She loves telling stories using music. Soul is always connected to everything around her and her music comes from the different places she has been to in her mind.
Cill aims to take you on a journey one song at a time, making music of unique blends with splashes of her “African-ness.”
Frankline Sevidzem Wirsiy (@dr_wirsiy) is a global health security consultant at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, and a Pfizer - One Young World ambassador. Previously, he was a proposal development consultant with IntraHealth International in Cameroon and an international consultant for the USAID-funded RHITES-E project implemented by IntraHealth in Uganda.
Frankline is passionate about networking and organizing measures to prevent disease and promote health to prolong life. His greatest philosophical paradigm is "service to humanity is the best work of life."
This initiative was born from a number of collaborations between IntraHealth and the Global Fund which focused on youth voices in global health and included a series of workshops and international gatherings around IntraHealth’s report The Future of Health Work in Africa: What Will it Look Like in 2040? and the subsequent international event SwitchPoint Virtual Exchange Who Pays?