Woman Crush Wednesday (WCW): Toyin Saraki

by Duke Magazine

Toyin Ojora-Saraki is a Nigerian global health advocate and healthcare philanthropist. She is the founder and president of Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA). Born in 1964, Saraki has been keen on crusading for maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health, ending gender-based discrimination, and socio-economic empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa.

Through the arm of WBFA, and stints with a broad range of partners that include the United Nations, the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health, and the organized private sector, Saraki has over two decades demonstrated leadership styles on the advancement of women’s and children’s health via community health workers and midwives.

Functioning in different scales of roles and levels, she was in 2014 appointed Inaugural Global Goodwill Ambassador to the International Confederation of Midwives, thereby saddled with the responsibility of advocating for the improved recognition of the roles, rights, and remuneration of the midwifery profession, globally.

Saraki is reputed as the Emeritus Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and serves as the special adviser to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa (AFRO). Also, she was named by Devex as UHC Global Champion and Save the Children Newborn Health Champion for Nigeria. In similar regard, she is a Global Champion for the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood.

Different initiatives have been rolled out from the healthcare advocacy sleeves of Saraki, most have which social media platforms have been leveraged to get wider coverage. In 2012, she launched a social media through Wellbeing Foundation Africa called #MaternalMonday in 2012, and #WASHWednesday, #ThriveThursday, and #FrontlineFriday in 2018, to raise awareness on topical issues in women children, and adolescents health and nutrition, gender equality, water sanitation, and hygiene, and frontline health workers, in Africa.

The 57-year-old healthcare philanthropist holds a bachelor’s degree in law and a master’s degree in international economic law from the London School of Oriental and African Studies and King’s College London, respectively.

In recognition of an undiluted exuberance in bringing synergy to global healthcare provision, Saraki was recently named WHO Foundation Ambassador for Global Health. She was also named in the second publication of 100 Most Influential African Women in 2020 by Avance Media.

Saraki is the Erelu Bobajiro of Iru Land, Lagos, and is the wife of the erstwhile Governor of Kwara State, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who was also the former president of the Nigerian Senate.

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