GlobalSkin Hosts the First African Members' Regional Meeting in Kenya

From April 18 - 20, 2024, GlobalSkin convened its inaugural African Members' Regional Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. This landmark event brought together over 35 patient organization members from 13 African countries. The meeting aimed to strengthen the network of dermatology patient organizations across Africa, with a focus on enhancing patient support, boosting advocacy efforts, and building organizational capacity.

The event kicked off with a Skin Matters Reception, marking the first-ever GlobalSkin event on the African continent. Among the distinguished speakers was the Honourable Esther Passaris, Member of Parliament, National Assembly and Nairobi County Nairobi Woman Representative, who brought a camera crew to document and broadcast the proceedings. Here’s a link to the video.

GlobalSkin's Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Austin facilitated the program which included several local experts in the field of dermatology and public health:

  • Rachel Ogola, Founder and Chairperson, Eczema Society of Kenya
  • Dr. Rebecca Kiptui, Acting Director, Curative Services, National Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Peninah Kitili, Consultant Dermatologist, Pediatrician, and Venereologist at Kenyatta Hospital
  • Dr. Victor Kibe, Head of Non-Communicable Diseases Division, Nairobi City County
  • Dr. Oda Mirimo, Head of Primary Healthcare, Nairobi City County

Each speaker shared insights and highlighted the importance of community involvement in policy-making processes, including at the African Union and the World Health Organization.


Learning, Sharing, Collaborating as a Region

The African Members' Regional Meeting provided invaluable opportunities for leaders of patient organizations to network, exchange success stories, and learn from one another. To understand the potential of regional collaboration, two panels were presented. The first panel featured speakers from national and regional policy-making bodies including the African Union, African Medicines Agency Treaty Alliance (AMATA), World Health Organization, and a Dermatologist practicing in community health The second panel was comprised of four GlobalSkin Member organizations from different African countries presenting their own advocacy initiatives. Each panel provided participants with ideas and discussion points to be considered for advocacy collaboration as a region.  


Formation of GlobalSkin’s Very First Regional Network

A significant outcome of the African Members' Regional Meeting was the unanimous decision to establish GlobalSkin’s first Regional Network (more details below). The Network will be led by its newly elected Working Group which includes Toni Roberts (South Africa), Warren Simangolwa (Zambia), Ogo Maduewesi (Nigeria), Enam Honya (Ghana), Rachel Ogola (Kenya), Peter Ogik (Uganda), and Fikre Hailekiros (Ethiopia).

The newly formed African Regional Network started its work immediately by setting priorities and activities for their forthcoming workplan, which will guide their initiatives to improve dermatological care and awareness across the continent. The top three agreed upon activities were:

  • Define pan-African patient needs
  • Promote African-centric skin disease awareness  
  • Collaborate with African stakeholders on data curation and collection  

Later this year, when the draft of the workplan is complete, the Regional Network will convene for an online meeting to discuss, approve, and plan implementation. 


GlobalSkin is grateful to all attendees for their commitment and passion. We are thrilled to be part of this African Member-led initiative and look forward to supporting the African Regional Network and its Working Group.  We will continue to keep our African Members updated as further developments unfold.

View our Flickr Album Collection from our highly interactive and engaging time in Nairobi. 


What is a Regional Network? 

A Regional Network is a new program and initiative of GlobalSkin geared towards: 

  • Strengthening GlobalSkin’s membership to have greater regional equity and inclusiveness and empowerment.​ 
  • Supporting regional advocacy which elevates GlobalSkin’s strategic plan activities related to advocacy (e.g. WHA resolution).​ 
  • Promoting regional empowerment in pursuing challenges and priorities that are most meaningful in each region.​ 
  • Fostering opportunities for in-region collaboration, networking, and mentorship.​ 

Throughout the next year, GlobalSkin will closely observe and learn from the African Regional Network as it is a pilot launch of regional networks. This will help guide our plans to engage members in other regions to potentially launch their own regional networks in the future. Stay tuned for more details.