DioDio Sacko, midwife and trainer for Marie Stopes Mali; Ghulam Yaseen, channel lead for Marie Stopes Pakistan; Indra Tumur, country director for Marie Stopes Mongolia; and Ufuoma Omo Obi, country director for Marie Stopes Sierra Leone all received recognition for their contribution to improving reproductive health worldwide.
The competition, organised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health and Bayer, accepted nominees aged 40 or under who have made significant contributions to family planning at local, national or international level in one or more of the following areas:
- policy and advocacy,
- program implementation,
- service delivery,
- demand generation,
The 40 winners for 2016 were chosen through online public voting, with each receiving a prize of $1,000 from the Gates Institute to continue their work in family planning. Jose “Oying” Rimon II, director of the Gates Institute said:
"120 Under 40 shines a light on the ‘positive disruptions’ made by young leaders in family planning, enabling others to model their behaviours and build on their success. The project’s international profile will increase awareness of family planning as critical to young people’s health and wellbeing, and essential to sustainable global development."
The winners' contributions
DioDio has been working in reproductive health from a young age, beginning as a health educator for the Mali Ministry of Youth in 2001. Her role was to educate her peers about sexual and reproductive health, presenting talks about family planning in schools. In 2008 she joined Marie Stopes Mali as a service provider, working in centres and going on outreach to serve women living in remote and rural areas. She also continues to promote family planning education in what is quite a conservative country, leading interactive discussions on Bamako radio and opening dialogues with religious leaders.
Ghulam has been working in reproductive health for over a decade, joining our team in Pakistan in 2008 to help run 49 centres and 100 social franchises across the country. He believes family planning is best way to tackle poverty and improve health in Pakistan, and works hard to break down taboos about contraception and child spacing, particularly among young professionals.
Marie Stopes Mongolia operates a centre providing family planning and reproductive health services and a substantial social marketing business. The team in Mongolia uses social marketing to sell condoms and other methods of contraception, increasing access across the country. The population of Mongolia is 3 million yet Marie Stopes Mongolia sells over 5 million branded condoms a year. In 2015 under Indra's leadership, Marie Stopes Mongolia contributed 50% of Mongolia’s total contraceptive market share and 70% of condom market share.
Overwhelmed by statistics on maternal and child mortality from a young age, Ufuoma came to appreciate access to contraception and safe abortion as life-saving. Driven by this, Ufuoma went on to work with MSI and deliver some of the most successful family planning service delivery programmes in West Africa. This included public sector training and the development of an intensive seven-day training model for delivery of long-acting contraception. This model has since been replicated across the region, and established MSI as a 'Public Sector Training Supportive Supervision Channel' in the West Africa region.