14 January 2017, Accra, Ghana — The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) honored four leading African women, including the President of Mauritius, for contributions in science and public health, during the Center for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training’s (CePAT’s) Honors program today in Accra. Before receiving their awards, they joined USP’s leadership team to mentor female students and young professionals from many African communities and launch this year’s CePAT Women in Science Exchange (W.I.S.E.) program.
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius, received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to public health in Africa and globally. Earlier in her career, she co-authored Africa’s first herbal pharmacopeia, a compendium of herbal medicines.
President Gurib-Fakim said the demand for women leaders in science is high and encouraged the young women and students at the event to enter the pipeline for scientific careers, saying, “We complain there are not enough women coming out of the pipe. If women are to assume leadership positions … we need more mentoring. This morning’s program was precisely this. If we build their confidence and tell them from a young age that the sky’s the limit, we will see more girls in the sciences.”
Other awardees included:
Hosted by USP, a global public health organization dedicated to building foundations for healthier lives through drug, food, and dietary supplement quality standards, the CePAT Honors program celebrates the unique and valuable contributions of African women in science and global health. USP created the CePAT W.I.S.E program to empower and mentor female students and professional in science and help them to advance into leadership positions.
Africa constitutes 12% of the world population, yet has 25% of the disease burden and only 3% of the health workforce. Women, although more than 50% of the African population, are under-represented in the workforce. With a growing number of unsung African women blazing new paths to leadership and opening doors for other women in these fields, the need for this program —that highlights their accomplishments and helps develop a pipeline of future leaders—has never been greater.
“The USP-CePAT mission is to build a strong, sustainable global health workforce to meet Africa’s needs. That goal can only be accomplished by the full participation of women at all levels, from technical positions to leadership,” said Emily Kaine, M.D., USP senior vice president for Global Health.