, 04 March, 2020 / 11:02 PM
Irene Kyamummi, a Ugandan doctor who has had a career stint in neighboring Kenya is the winner of “the XI Harambee Prize 2020” for her selflessness in promoting health standards among vulnerable groups in the two East African countries, an official of Harambee Africa International, the Rome-based association that is giving the prize, told ACI Africa Wednesday, March 3.
“The Harambee 2020 Award Ceremony for the Promotion and Equality of African Women,” the Vice President of Harambee Africa International, Manuel Sanchez said in a statement to ACI Africa, “will be given to the doctor Irene Kyamummi, promoter of the Child Health Project (CHP) in support of the most vulnerable children in Kampala (Uganda).”
The Award Ceremony is expected to take place Thursday, March 5 in Spain’s central capital, Madrid.
According to Sanchez, the 37-year-old Ugandan studied medicine at the University of Makerere and proceeded to work on projects in favour of low-income families, first in Kenya and then in Uganda.
“Dr. Kyamummi has collaborated on initiatives aimed at children, such as the TB-Child Project, to treat children with tuberculosis, and CHP for which she moved to Kenya,” the Rome-based institution noted in the statement, adding, “In Kenya, their work has benefited more than 5,000 children in the Limuru area and hopes to double that effort in Uganda, with a high infant mortality rate.”
With the Award, sponsored by the René Furterer Laboratories, Dr. Kyamummi is expected to contribute to the reduction of child mortality in the suburbs of Kampala in a specific financing criterion, according to Sanchez.
“Indeed, the use of these funds is controlled, since the criteria for financing cooperation projects are applied,” Sanchez said referencing an amount of cash to be given to Dr. Kyamummi, having been raised through fundraising activities in Spain.
“The amount of the prize is the result of a series of fundraising activities that are being carried out in several cities in Spain, during Irene's stay,” Sanchez told ACI Africa, and added, “The amount will be around 10,000.00 euro.”
Further explaining the award package, the head of the Rome-based institution said, “The award implies a recognition of the work done so far, and an impulse to continue with the project. In other words, the prize does not look at the past, but also at the present and the future.”
Sanchez explained that the award was a “public recognition of the work of an African woman” much as it had a monetary value “to help in a concrete way the project developed by Irene.”
CHP, which Dr. Kyamummi promotes seeks to reduce child mortality by providing health care to children in the most disadvantaged areas of sub-Saharan Africa, who are provided with two or three annual checkups to deworm them and combat malnutrition, while providing training to mothers on Hygiene and healthy habits.
In an interview with the award conveners of “the XI Harambee Prize 2020”, Ms Kyamummi divulged that the aim of CHP was to provide knowledge to children in schools and to families.
“The needs and challenges are very similar in all the nations of Africa,” said Dr. Kyamummi and added, “that is why we want to develop the CHP Project in towns near Kampala, and we hope to see that here the health education of the whole family is also reached through the children.”
Underlining the importance of education within the health project, the Harambee Prize 2020 winner said, "Of course, food and health are studied, but above all, education is provided in these subjects so that they acquire healthy habits and also know when they should see a doctor."
Infant mortality rate recorded in 2019 in Uganda, according to CIA World Factbook data, is 55 babies in a thousand births. Compared to Spain’s 3 deaths per thousand births, Uganda’s statistics are adverse, according to information provided by Harambee Africa International.
“This (mortality level) increases absolutely in slums and in the poorest areas. The CHP project began with the intention of alleviating this drama,” reads the statement.
In a statement to ACI Africa last November ahead of the Rome conference on reversing negative trends in women and leadership in Africa, Manuel Sanchez said Harambee Africa International exists “to promote in-depth discussions on development in Africa, contributing to the spread of correct information on the continent and with the ambition to try new ways of expressing the culture of human development, the ambition to go beyond the current models.”
Harambee Africa International has carried out development projects in the field of education and training in Sub-Saharan Africa since 2002, Sanchez told ACI Africa in his March 3 statement and added, “Harambee is also involved in information and awareness-raising initiatives to contribute to the diffusion of a more in-depth image of the Continent, beyond stereotypes.”
Harambee, which in Swahili means “working together to achieve something”, is an international project with a presence in Benin, Burundi, Congo, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Togo and Uganda where it collaborates with educational, health or assistance projects, promoted and carried out by Africans themselves in their countries.
The institution’s committees operate in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Poland and the United States.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa