COUNTDOWN’s Margaret Gyapong is a Heroine of Health!

Prof. Margaret Gyapong is to be honoured as a ‘heroine of health’ on Sunday, 21st May 2017. She is one of 12 women selected from around the world to receive this accolade in an organised gala, which is part of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland being held from 22nd – 31st May 2017.

Prof. Gyapong, who leads COUNTDOWN Ghana’s Social Science research expressed she felt very privileged, and honoured to be recognized for doing her work.

I have been reflecting on my work from 2004 to date. It was not easy being a mother, a wife and a social scientist, in charge of a research centre in the Ministry of health, trying to promote the use of social research methods and the value of Implementation research. I was posted to head a three-room research office (previously used by a District Health Management Team) with four young men with diplomas and two ladies with first degrees. By the Grace of God, the support of my family, my collaborators especially the COUNTDOWN team and the extremely hard working ladies and gentlemen in the Dodowa Health Research Centre, our activities have been recognized globally. she said.

Prof Margaret Gyapong – explaining the use of Rectal Artesunate to a group of women.

For the past 24 years, Prof. Gyapong has worked extensively to nurture and improve Operations/ Health Systems and Implementation research capacity among research teams in Ghana, Africa and Asia.  She has also worked closely with program Implementers and policy makers in Ghana to ensure that her research leads into policy. Underlying her work, is a focus on championing women’s health and rights. Currently, Prof. Gyapong is bringing the spotlight on putting Female Genital Schistosomiasis on the maternal Health Agenda through her research with COUNTDOWN.

This is the first time ever that women are honoured as ‘heroines of health’ for their immense contributions to the global health workforce. According to a study commissioned by The Lancet in 2015, women contribute over $3billion to global health.

To recognize the 12 emerging women leaders in global healthcare, with the first ever “Heroines of Health” honours at this year’s World Health Assembly, Women in Global Health and GE Healthcare joined forces with Women Deliver, the United Nations Foundation, Global Health Council, International Gender Champions, Geneva Graduate Institute, the Government of Sweden, Intrahealth and Frontline Health Workers Coalition for this purpose.

In response to how this award has changed her perspective, Prof. Gyapong said: “Being recognized not locally but internationally when you least expect is a great motivation. Incidentally, I started a new job less than six months ago in a very young university. I went there to help build and raise the profile of the institution. Getting this award is a great encouragement for me to work even harder.”

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