The United Nations today honoured a Ghanaian doctor and a non-governmental organization from the United States for their contributions to increasing the awareness of, and solutions to, the world’s population problems.
In a ceremony held at UN Headquarters in New York, Dr. Kwasi Odoi-Agyarko, Executive Director of Rural Help Integrated in Ghana, was presented with the UN Population Award for his outstanding leadership and achievements in promoting community-based reproductive health services in his country.
His organization – located in the Upper East Region, one of Ghana’s poorest and least accessible, and one that faces issues such as female circumcision – provides culturally sensitive reproductive health care in a model project that has received international attention for its scope and quality.
Dr. Odoi-Agyarko has also integrated the RHI model into the School of Public Health at the University of Ghana and has made substantial progress towards the promotion of women to leadership positions.
Meanwhile, the Award’s institutional recognition went to EngenderHealth for its work around the world in safe and voluntary sterilization and family planning counselling programmes.
Formerly known as AVSC International, the organization was established in 1943 and initially worked to ensure that American couples could choose surgical sterilization and that these services were voluntary and safe.
In 1973, EngenderHealth broadened its geographic scope to work in the developing world, where it has introduced and expanded access to safe and voluntary sterilization services in more than 90 countries.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a message to the awards ceremony delivered on his behalf by Assistant Secretary-General for External Relations Gillian Sorensen, congratulated both winners for their “outstanding contributions to the betterment of our world.”
He also pledged that the UN would continue its efforts to address population issues as an integral part of its global work for social and economic development.