Washington, DC, March 8, 2016 — As people around the world today celebrate the many profound contributions women continue to make in their individual lives and across all disciplines, the 2016 International Women’s Day campaign theme of #PledgeForParity serves as a reminder that we still have far to go to achieve true gender parity.
On International Women’s Day, AIHA is proud to shine a spotlight on just a few of the many, many women who have contributed to the success of our partnerships and health systems strengthening initiatives around the globe.
In paying tribute to this handful of amazing women, we mean to pay tribute to all of the women whose dedication and hard work has contributed to the success of our capacity building programs for nearly 25 years. These women are making a real difference in their communities and, as we all work toward the goal of gender parity, they serve as both an inspiration and a call to action!
South African native Zukisa “Zuki” Tshabalala earned her degree as a Physician Assistant at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2004, Zuki returned to South Africa, where she played a critical role in the development of the new Clinical Associates profession – a new mid-level medical cadre that is helping the country overcome its severe shortage of trained healthcare workers, particularly in rural areas. She was instrumental in the effort to get university approval for the introduction of the new Clinical Associate training programs, as well as National Department of Health approval for the introduction of this important new profession.
Currently, Zuki coordinates the training of Clinical Associates at the University of Pretoria. As the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Professional Association of Clinical Associates in South Africa (PACASA), Zuki also plays a leading role in advocating for the future of the profession.
As a specialist in pediatric emergency medicine, Dr. Muluwork Tefera of Ethiopia got her start as a general practitioner at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital (TASH) in 1994 before pursuing advanced training in pediatrics and child health at Addis Ababa University (AAU) from 2002 to 2005. Dr. Mulu worked in TASH’s Pediatrics Department as general pediatrician then commenced training as pediatric emergency medicine physician when AIHA launched its Pediatric Emergency Medicine partnership linking AAU/TASH with the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010. In addition to being an experienced and compassionate physician in TASH’s Pediatric Emergency Department, Dr. Mulu is also recognized as a dynamic educator and mentor at AAU/TASH, where she is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health. When asked her thoughts about AIHA’s partnership model, Dr. Mulu said, “Support from other organizations is what I would call external – they come in, offer trainings, and leave. Our AIHA partnership is a part of our institution. What we have learned, we share with residents from all over the country.”
Sally Mason, PhD, draws on her wealth of experience as a Professor of Clinical Social Work at the Institute for Juvenile Research (IJR) and a Lecturer at the Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago. Since 2007, she has been a member of a team enhancing social work capacity in response to the HIV epidemic in Tanzania and Ethiopia, with a focus on orphans and vulnerable children, taking on a co-director role in 2012. Sally has almost 30 years of experience working in HIV and AIDS as a case manager, educator, residential manager, mental health provider, group facilitator, program consultant, and researcher. Specializing in services to low-income women, children, and families, she has played an active role in the development and evaluation of services for HIV-affected families in Chicago. Sally’s programs of practice and research highlight the impact of HIV on families, most recently exploring how parents living with HIV and their non-infected children are affected by and manage HIV stigma. As a social work educator for more than two decades, her responsibilities have included classroom teaching, individual and group supervision of students in the field, and mentoring doctoral students. For the last 19 years, she has been IJR’s Director of Social Work Training, overseeing the training of in excess of 80 MSW and PhD students.
Since 2006, Mrs. Augusta Muthigani, National Executive Secretary of the Commission for Education and Religious Education at the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) in Nairobi, has led the implementation of a dynamic faith-based youth HIV prevention program that has been implemented in nearly all Catholic schools across the country, as well as in a number of public schools and those sponsored by other religious denominations. KCCB developed this program with technical support from AIHA partners at DePaul University in Chicago. Under Augusta’s guidance, the Commission for Education and Religious Education has trained nearly 4,000 teachers to deliver the school-based Making Life’s Responsible Choices Program in approximately 1,600 primary schools nationwide. This evidence-based program has reached more than 750,000 Kenyan children between the ages of 11 and 14 over the past nine years, making a real difference in their lives by arming them with the life and communication skills they need to more effectively negotiate the challenges of peer pressure and high risk behaviors that all too often lead to substance abuse, violence, and HIV or other serious infections. In addition, Augusta has led the development and implementation of a complementary parent/caregiver program called Families Matter!, which is designed to increase family involvement in promoting healthy living and behavior change by training parents how to talk with their children about human sexuality, STIs, and HIV/AIDS. To date, Families Matter! been delivered to nearly 9,000 parents and caregivers whose children participate in Making Life’s Responsible Choices.