Women make impact on global child health

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equity.


For International Women’s Day, the Centre for Global Child Health at SickKids is championing female leadership by showcasing the talented women that are working together in Canada, Africa and the Caribbean to improve the lives of children and their families around the world. Read on to learn about their experiences in leading efforts to address the most pressing global child health issues.

Janet Seo is bringing nursing best practice and education to underserved communities.

“While searching for different career paths in nursing, I had an exciting opportunity to do an internship at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. During the internship, my passion and interest for global child health grew exponentially as I was exposed to health issues at a global level.”

Dr. Jennifer Knight-Madden is advocating for newborn screening for sickle cell disease across the Caribbean.

“I hope to build on the foundation of my predecessors to ensure that sustainable public health programs are in place to ensure that all newborns in the Caribbean are screened for SCD and enrolled in appropriate care in the first three months of life. The SickKids-Caribbean Initiative plays an important role in this process.”

Dr. Jemima A. Dennis-Antwi is leading the charge for better care for mothers, newborns and children in Ghana.

“With the privilege of spearheading the development of specialist nurses and midwives, I am highly optimistic that the Specialist Paediatric Nurses of the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives will contribute to further reducing infant mortality rate, to promote child health in Ghana and Africa at large.”


“The welfare of children in any country is paramount as these little ones are its future and yet the most vulnerable group.”
Justina Agula is fighting for equality to advance women’s and children’s health programs in Ghana.

“I hope to advocate for the disadvantaged and marginalized in society, especially women and children (my personal core value), making their plights heard, promote the use of community based strategies to improve health care seeking behavior for under-fives and contribute to groundbreaking research to inform decisions.”

Katie McLaughlin is evaluating maternal, newborn and child health programs to determine the best outcomes.

“Leaving my young children at home is difficult, but I am fortunate that I enjoy my work and my colleagues and know that my work is meaningful. Finding a work/life balance will look different at different stages of my career and of my children’s lives, but knowing that the work I am doing has the potential to help many others, is a powerful motivator.”

Nandita Perumal is collaborating in epidemiologic research to improve the health of vulnerable children.

“I hope that my dissertation work contributes to improving methods used to assess child growth in epidemiological research. In the future, I hope to lead research projects that generate evidence to inform public health interventions to support optimal child growth and development in low-resource settings.”

Dr. Roxana Salehi is helping make sense of complex health systems through research and evaluation.

“Why is it that in certain countries children die of preventable causes, and in others they don’t? There is so much that needs to be done to decrease this inequity, ranging from securing adequate funding for the global child health agenda, to training sufficient human resources, to good social policy.”

Dr. Pauline Balkaransingh is improving the care and lives of paediatric patients in the Caribbean.

“It is my hope that I can assist in the implementation and improvement of programs and policies directed towards providing optimal care for paediatric haematology/oncology patients, especially in developing nations such as my homeland Trinidad and Tobago.”

Noveline Khatievi is helping Kenyan mothers help themselves and their newborns with simple-to-use tools.

“The passion to help and save lives and humanity as a whole is my key driving force. I always desired to impact society through promotion of healthy living, better treatment and prompt and efficient medical attention to all the members of the community and even more so to young children.”

Catherine Wanjik is saving newborn lives and brains at birth in Kenya.

“Juggling my pregnancy journey while implementing the Neonatal Kit study has been a great experience, I confidently admit. The zeal to balance both was amazing and especially being my first pregnancy and as well my first opportunity to implement a research project…. a project involving saving newborns lives and brains at birth.”
Hannah Acqua is giving Ghanian nurses the right skills to meet the special needs of children.

“The welfare of children in any country is paramount as these little ones are its future and yet the most vulnerable group. I choose work in child health because I love children and love to be part of the team that work to save their lives and also make their lives as comfortable as it could be. My heart bleeds when children die from preventable causes.”