Photos in Nairobi by Mr O.T. Belarga of Osaka University Graduate School of Human Sciences.
My flight for London was delayed in its departure from New York, and so I was informed beforehand that I would not be reaching Heathrow in time for the connecting flight to Nairobi. Luckily, I had some leeway in terms of my schedule in Nairobi, and so there were no major problems. I booked a night at the Sofitel Hotel close to the Heathrow airport.
I had dinner in London with one of my friends and his family, as well as a Japanese student who interned at NAIIC and is currently studying political science at Oxford. We went to a Japanese restaurant and had a lively talk (photo).
I headed to Nairobi the next day, reaching my destination at around 9 p.m where I was greeted by an official of the foreign ministry of Japan and then escorted to my hotel. The 8th International Conference on the MCH Booklet would be held over a period of 4 days starting the next day . This is a conference that is set up and run jointly by Professor Yasuhide Nakamura of Osaka University and HANDS.
As you might know, the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) booklet is one of the successes of the ODA of Japan in the Asian region. The next region being targeted was Africa and elsewhere this was the theme of the conference.
I've heard that the Kenyan Government and Dr. Miriam Were, who was a recipient of the 1st Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize 4 years ago were doing their utmost to make the conference a success. Not only were there some international organizations, but also representatives from various African and Asian countries as well as Palestinian countries. All in all, there were participants from around 30 countries.
The session started early the next day at the Multimedia University of Kenya. In Kenya, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation (MPHS) and Ministry of Medical Services are separate entities, and I felt that this was a very practical and logical approach.
I took part in the Opening Plenary Panel with Dr. Were, the Minister of Public Health and Sanitation Honorable Beth Mugo. The current Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission to Kenya H.E Yoichiro Yamada used his own MCH booklet in his explanations, and this was very persuasive. In this panel, I had a 25 minute talk titled "Japan Support for Global Health and the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize".
During the break, I was able to mix with a lot of people from different nations, but I talked to many young Japanese working Kenya and elsewhere overseas, the majority of whom were women. I also met a nurse who was part of my team in Phayao, Thailand where I was in charge of a project for prevention and control of AIDS. After that project, she had gone to Africa where she was currently working. I thought it wonderful that one could have reunions like this. The lively contribution of young Japanese to the world gladdens me.
Tomorrow evening is the session for the Hideyo Noguchi African Prize, 4th Anniversary. Since I am acting as a chairperson, I participated, particularly as a run-up to the TICAD 5 conference.
It is a good opportunity to meet new people and to understand Japan's place in the ever expanding world.