I can only say how much I appreciate the tremendous difference that Amref Health Africa makes in so many parts of Africa, and just how much I appreciate the invaluable support that so many of you give to the vital work they do.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As Patron, I am so delighted to be with you all this morning as you launch your ‘Health in Her Hands’ Campaign in support of improving the health of women in Africa. 

I first visited Amref Health Africa’s work in Kenya nearly fifty years ago and was deeply struck then, as I am today, by Amref’s remarkable community-driven, African-led approach to improving healthcare across the continent, including, of course, in many Commonwealth countries. 

Since becoming Patron of Amref in 1979, it has been with great pride that I have watched the organization adapt to meet the evolving needs of the people they serve while remaining true to their original vision and fundamental values.  If I may say so, therefore, it is entirely fitting that today, on International Women’s Day, we should gather to celebrate the women who have devoted their lives to improving the health of their communities.

As all of you know as well as I do, women play an indispensable role in health and the future of their families and, by extension, of their communities.  Crucially, women also make up the great majority of frontline health-workers across Africa, delivering advice and life-saving care where it is most urgently needed.

The ‘Health in Her Hands’ campaign is a clear demonstration of Amref’s unique approach to development – one that is led by African voices, with people telling their own stories, identifying their own needs and developing their own solutions in the pursuit of better health and wellbeing.  It is a remarkable and profoundly impressive initiative which, quite literally, is changing lives.

For my part, Ladies and Gentlemen, I can only say how much I appreciate the tremendous difference that Amref Health Africa makes in so many parts of Africa, and just how much I appreciate the invaluable support that so many of you give to the vital work they do.