MARCH welcomes UNFPA’s Exec Director, Dr Natalia Kanem, to meet the next generation of global health leaders

On the 18 October UNFPA’s Executive Director, Dr Natalia Kanem and her colleagues, UK Director Matthew Jackson and Chief of Staff Poi Smith, visited LSHTM to attend a thought-provoking roundtable discussion with several MARCH staff, doctoral and Master’s students. The meeting was a chance for Natalia to hear directly from students about their work on family planning, sexual and reproductive health all over the world, from Zimbabwe to China–a testament to the School and UNFPA’s commitment to global health and inclusiveness. It also gave staff & students the opportunity to hear first-hand about the important work that UNFPA, the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency, is conducting to highlight key obstacles in fertility and reproductive rights around the world.

From front left: Professor Joy Lawn, MARCH Director, Dr Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director & Professor Peter Piot, Director of LSHTM join MARCH colleagues & students for a roundtable meeting. 

The meeting coincided with the launch of the UNFPA’s new State of the World Population Report: The Power of Choice. The report focuses on the positive effect that greater contraceptive choice, plus economic & social support, has on enabling people to choose the family size they want. This in turn helps to advance economic and social progress around the world.

The event was an important occasion for further developing the productive relationship between LSHTM, MARCH and the UNFPA. It provided a platform for discussing important priorities set out by the UNFPA, and how future and current leaders from LSHTM can contribute to achieving their ambitious goals. In this conversation, Natalia took the time to listen to colleagues and students and ask questions about their research and interests, as well as providing advice on how students can get engaged with the UNFPA’s work after their studies.

We’re delighted to have welcomed UNFPA to our school, and look forward to future opportunities for the MARCH Centre to link with their work to achieve our shared goals – births that are wanted and healthy, safe childbirth and ensuring every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

In March 2018 Dr Kanem was awarded an Honorary Fellowship, LSHTM’s most prestigious honour, conferred triennially on those persons who have rendered exceptional service to our School or have attained exceptional distinction in any of the subjects taught at LSHTM.