ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF

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Amujae Leader Umra Omar discusses progress in delivering healthcare to rural communities in Kenya

Since launching its operations in Lamu County, Kenya in 2015, the progress made by Safari Doctors  has been nothing less than remarkable.

The social enterprise created by Amujae Leader Umra Omar to deliver much-needed healthcare services to rural areas in the county managed to increase its outreach capacity from 100 to around 2,500 individuals each month.

In a recent interview with CNN, Ms. Omar shared details of the journey she has undertaken since launching Safari Doctors. She described the sense of mission, personal responsibility, and purpose she felt when visiting the village of Shela on Lamu Island where she witnessed firsthand the gaps in primary medical care.

Since then, Safari Doctors has delivered medication, as well as mobile primary and preventative healthcare to over 20 villages in Kenya. This earned Ms. Omar the 2017 United Nations in Kenya Person of the Year award, and a Top 10 CNN Hero recognition in 2016.

“This is the feeling from Safari Doctors: It is a peaceful change opportunity into an underrated resource and that is the human power in healthcare. It is a beautiful feeling to work at home with my people, especially the younger people, and playing our part in transforming our own communities, and actually feeling like you are making a difference.”

Ms. Omar is also active in helping young people become “youth health ambassadors”—a cohort of around 30 people aged under 25 who receive training to form a permanent healthcare workforce for their communities.

“It’s the most critical part of our operations, as Safari Doctors is investing in the young people as the agents of change that will transform the healthcare narrative that we’re dealing with.”

Speaking about the role of women in her work, Ms. Omar emphasized the power that each woman has to “relate with the issues that are happening” and to push the development agenda forward.

She concluded by looking forward to a future where Safari Doctors can work closely with government institutions to “fundamentally change the language of healthcare” and provide top-quality mobile medical services to rural communities in Kenya.

 

Watch the full interview here: https://cnn.it/3JiW0EK

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