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Activites of MWIA and its Regions
Edition 1, 2021


President's Message
Secretary General's Message
Treasurer's Report
Past President's Message

Activities of MWIA and its Regions
- North America
- Near East and Africa
- Central Asia
- Western Pacific 

Reports from MWIA Representatives
- MWIA Representative to the UN
- MWIA Representative to the European Women's Lobby
- MWIA Representative to the Standing Committee of European Physicians


News from the Website

President's Message

Welcome to 2021, the year designated by WHO as the International Year of Health and Care Workers. We pray that it will be a year of restoration and renewed hope. I was humbled and delighted as my year started with an award from SheaMoisture as the #SHEAWOMAN OF THE YEAR. I facilitated a podcast with Nellie Peyton, the New Humanitarian and Thomson Reuters Foundation journalist who uncovered the story, that over 50 women accused aid workers of sex abuse in the Congo Ebola crisis in September 2020. I also spoke to Ester Dross, an experienced safeguarding advisor, to help us explore lessons from this experience.  I was invited by Global Woman 4 Women (GW4W) as Lead speaker on wine and tea Wednesdays on January 27th 2021. Live recording on Facebook:    
On February 5th, 2021, I was the guest speaker at the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) - Indian College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ICOG) National Conference on NCD. My presentation was “Medical women’s role in combating NCDs”. A Colloquium was held at Lehigh University, US, on February 22nd with Dr. Nata Menabde, Executive Director, World Health Organization Office at the UN as keynote speaker and myself as Guest responder.  The visit of the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed to Nigeria was marked with an interactive session where I spoke about the need to include women in the COVID-19 response and pay attention to mental health.
International Women’s Day high points included participation in a discussion hosted by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing CB, on Overcoming Barriers to Women’s Leadership. The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima, visited Nigeria during the International Women’s day. At the round table, I raised the issues of harmful widowhood practices which increase the spread of HIV and AIDS and decried the lack of routine services for persons living with HIV as part of the COVID-19 response. As part of the International Women’s Day activities, I also participated in Arise television interview.  On March 17th, the new Director General of the World Trade Organisation and the first female to be in this position, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, visited Nigeria, and it was an opportunity to celebrate her honorific elevation. The Commission on the Status of Women is currently taking place and I am speaking on several parallel sessions to ensure the visibility of MWIA. I will be a lead speaker at Venice Expert Forum, organised by FIGO, University of Southampton, UK MWF , Kapodistrian University of Athens and National Institute for Health Research. I look forward to being a special guest at the MWIA Near East and Africa Congress hosted by the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria in Abuja.

Please stay safe.
1. United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, Minister for Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, head of UN Women Comfort Lamptey, CSO leads and myself. 2. The Executive Director of UNAIDS ,Winnie Byanyima, Minister for Women Affairs, heads of UN agencies, dignitaries and myself. 3. Director General, World Trade Organisation Dr Ngozi Okonjo -Iweala, Minister for Women Affairs, heads of UN agencies and myself.

Secretary General's Message

Dear Colleagues,
It has been a year since COVID- 19 has disrupted our lives in more ways than one. However as women physicians we have come together and not wavered in our commitment to serve the communities we live and work in. March is celebrated as Women's History Month and we indeed need to acknowledge those women who paved the way for us to fulfil our ambitions in studying and practicing medicine. Some of the names which come to my mind are Elizabeth Blackwell the 1st woman physician in the United States and Ester Pohl Lovejoy who was the founder of MWIA. These women were visionaries and faced innumerable challenges in their quest to promote gender equality. On an optimistic note there is a vaccine available for COVID -19 which will hopefully be distributed in a fair and equitable way and quickly so that herd immunity is reached. I have coined a new phrase Vaquity - which is vaccine equity. I have had the privilege of  representing MWIA and my own national organization AMWA as a speaker at several events in March. We have worked on launching a new format for the quarterly news update and please make sure you are subscribed to received the updates and monthly newsletters by visiting the redesigned and updated MWIA website - url if you have not already done so.

Thank you for your commitment and work In Health Human Rights.
Padmini (Mini) Murthy
Women Doctors singing Meet the Moment
Wearing a Mask is a sign of respect!

Treasurer's Message

Firstly, I hope that everyone reading this is keeping safe and well. I have had my second vaccination even with the UK’s policy of a 10-12 week gap between vaccinations, but the UK’s third Lockdown began on 20th December and we have only just been given the concession of meeting one person outdoors with hopefully more socialisation to follow if numbers of COVID cases continue to reduce. Life has changed due to COVID -19 in many ways including crossing to the other side of the road to avoid being within 2 metres of other people. As a consultant Paediatrician, I have seen a lot of colleagues redeployed to the COVID wards, to help in ICU and to the vaccination centres.
Turning to financial matters, thank you to all those countries who have paid their dues since the last update. Non-payment of the annual subscription within 12 months of the due date results in suspension of membership according to the MWIA statutes and bylaws. Only members in good standing are eligible to hold executive positions, run for office or serve on committees. If there are issues with payment of dues that you need to discuss then please do contact me. I continue to be grateful for the hard work of the Finance Committee, chaired by MWIA past President Prof. Bettina Pfleiderer. Currently they are working on the details of the MWIA special funds and all information when finalised will be available on the MWIA website including criteria for applying and when applications can be received.
Although sometimes we talked about being “Zoomed out” it has been so uplifting seeing MWIA members both familiar faces and members I have not met previously on Zoom meetings. Three recent ones were attended by members from many countries.
1. Dr Mandakini Megh and her AMWI team organised the MWIA session at the ICOG -FOGSI conference (5-7th February) on non-communicable diseases where I spoke about management of babies born to mothers with underlying conditions.
2. The Webinar organised by the MWIA Work-Life Balance special interest group on 27th February had 347 registered participants from 32 countries. Personal tips were shared for work-life balance which I wish I had heard at the start of my career. I am Co-chair of this group with Yoshiko Maeda and my thanks go to Dabota Buowari for all her input and to MWAN who hosted the meeting with support by the Association of African Universities.
3. International Women’s day was on March 8th and ANWA held a webinar on “One World, One War Against COVID-19: Vaccines and Therapeutics”. This was an excellent way to end the day. It was good to hear what is being done in other countries and the very similar problems we all face. My thanks go to Dr Padmini Murthy our Secretary General and Dr Eliza Chan for inviting me to be speaker and for organising a highly successful webinar.

Please do contact me on for any treasurer issues.

Past President's Message

The last three months I was representing MWIA on many occasions; I attended online the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 65), several webinars and last but not least the “Generation Equality Forum Mexcio” from March 29-31 ( The Generation Equality Forum in Mexico City conducted a series of meetings that addressed the structural and systemic ceilings that prevent gender equality and to advance human rights for women and globally. Many events I attend were stimulating and tackled important questions such as the role of media, the role of civil societies and other stakeholders. And yet, it seems not much progress regarding gender equality, gender equity and gender-based violence was made in the last 10 years; despite good intentions and good programs in place.
Screenshot of the website of the gender equality forum in Mexico
At MWIA´s parallel event entitled Women Doctors: Champions of Global Equality at CSW 65, I spoke about the latest WHO report just issued on March 8 2021 about the latest prevalence numbers including the year 2018: Violence against women prevalence estimates 2018 ( Data included 161 countries and areas from 2010-2018.
What did we learn from these data?
• Still, about 1 in 3 women experience at least once in their life time intimate partner physical and& or sexual violence. This means that about more than 700 Million of women and teenage girls are affected. About 10-16 % have been experiencing this kind of violence in the past 12 months.
• Intimate partner violence hits early: 1in 4 of all teenage girls between 15-19 years experienced physical and/or sexual violence when relationships unfold. We have not been successfully able to protect our children from abuse.
It is depressing that these numbers are still so alarmingly high, despite that 2016 a global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health system in a multisectoral response and to collect data was put in place.
And why is this the case? Gender-based violence is rooted in multiple and intersecting gender inequalities - not only in the least developed countries, but globally. Therefore, we have to tackle this underlying cause of IPV first.
Role of medical doctors: Medical doctors have a very important role as frontline responders to tackle psychological and economic abuse, because they are the first and often the only one seeing the victims. Unfortunately, they too often miss opportunities, since they may not be aware of the different forms of IPV or they don´t know how to ask. Training them is essential and network as MWIA pay an important role.
Thus, let us all work together to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls to become these recommendations reality. No women and girl should live in fear to experience violence and girls should be growing up knowing that they are all safe.
About one in three women or girls do still experience violence at least once in their lifetime (WHO report)

Activities of MWIA and its Regions

North America
AMWA anticipates an exciting and informative National Meeting, March 25-28.
Region Report from North America
National Report from USA
Near East and Africa
Decoration of the 11th MWAN Male Champion, NMA President, Prof Innocent AO Ujah (FNMA, FNAmed, mni) on Friday 11th December, 2020 during the NMA National Executive Council meeting which held in Akwa, Nigeria.
Read more
Central Asia
Glimpse of FOGSI ICOG National Conference on (NCD) Non Communicable Diseases in Ob-Gyn on a digital platform on February 4th - 7th, 2021.
Read more
Western Pacific Region
Dr Desiree Yap AM Vice President MWIA Western Pacific Region.
Region Report by VP Dr Desiree Yap
National Report from Hong Kong, SAR China
National Report from Japan
National Report from South Korea

Reports from MWIA Representatives 

MWIA Representative to the United Nations

Representatives: Dr Satty Gill Keswani and Dr Padmini Murthy

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
March has been a busy month and as MWIA representatives to the United Nations. We have attended many events during the 65th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. On March 20th MWIA organized a parallel event on the NGO CSW NY virtual platform which was attended by members. The event titled 'Women Doctors: Champions of Global Equity' moderated by Satty Gill Keswani and the current and past MWIA executive committee members gave valuable insights as speakers. Despite being virtual, there were 700 parallel events organized by the NGO CSW and other official events organized by UN Women and member states. Please find enclosed the link to UN women webpage which has links to several important discussions including the links to the Generation Equality Forum, Mexico City, 29–31 March 2021. Please find the enclosed link to view the CSW MWIA parallel event held on March 20th, 2021.

Thank you and stay well.
Satty Gill Keswani and Padmini Murthy

MWIA Representative to the European Women's Lobby

Representative: Prof. Dr. Dr. Bettina Pfleiderer
MWIA is a European-wide board member of the European´s Women´s Lobby (EWL) and MWIA´s past president Prof. Bettina Pfleiderer is MWIA's representative. EWL has members in all 27 EU Member States and three of the candidate countries. The EWL campaigns for promotion of women’s rights and equality between women and men in the European Union. EWL has done a lot of work on the impact of the pandemic on women in many countries (see image below). Please see the report of activities here:
Bettina Pfleiderer participated at the online EWL Board meeting at the weekend of 27-28 February 2021 (see image below). At this meeting, trends and needs of the women’s movement were discussed, plans for the year ahead were made and EWL’s vision on ways to work towards equality between women and men in the coming years were shared. More information can be found here:
Last, but not least, EWL also wrote a letter directed to the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU, Josep Borrell, and the Portuguese Foreign Minister, condemning the President of Turkey’s Decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. The letter is shared on EWL´s webpage:
EWL´s poster on COVID-19.
Screenshot from the online EWL board meeting.

MWIA Representative to the Standing Committee of European Physicians

Representative: Prof. Dr. Dr. Bettina Pfleiderer
MWIA representative to the standing committee to European physicians (CPME), MWIA past president Prof. Dr. Dr. Bettina Pfleiderer, participated at the General Assembly and Board virtual meetings on 19 and 20 March 2021. Please read the press release on the main outcomes of the virtual meetings here:
I want to highlight this special publication: In the CPME Public Health and Disease Prevention Session, Professor Heidi Larson, showed the key findings of the 2020 “State of Vaccine Confidence in the EU+UK Report” ( published by the European Commission and the Vaccine Confidence Project of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in December 2020. CPME members contributed to this study through a survey in Spring 2020. There are individual factsheets for many countries for the year 2020 being available for download.
CPME newsletters can be found under this link:
Cover of the CPME March 2021 newsletter.


Keep updated with upcoming events in the MWIA Calendar listed on our website.
Access the MWIA Calendar

News on the Website

MWIA survey of COVID-19 experiences as healthcare providers

MWIA Executive 2019-22

President: Dr Eleanor Ann Nwadinobi
Secretary - General: Prof Dr. Padmini Murthy
Treasurer: Dr. Helen Goodyear
Past President: Prof Dr. Bettina Pfleiderer

Regional Vice Presidents

Central Europe: Dr. Edith Vecsei (Austria)
Northern Europe: Dr. Elisabeth Lichtenstein (Sweden)
Southern Europe: Dr. Antonella Vezzani (Italy)
North America: Dr. Vivien Brown (Canada)
Latin America: Prof Dr. Magda Maria Sales Carneiro Sampaio (Brazil)
Near East & Africa: Dr. Christine Sadia (Kenya)
Central Asia: Dr. Mandakini Megh (India)
Western Pacific: Dr. Desiree Yap (Australia)
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