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The 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) is right around the corner—taking place in New York City throughout September!

This year, we look forward to UNGA as an opportunity to amplify the importance of health workers in delivering health care; highlight the intersections of climate change, gender, and health; elevate women leaders and youth champions in public health from around the world—and to connect with you in person in NYC.

Pathfinder’s delegation will be on the ground September 18–22. We will be hosting a side event on building climate-adaptive health systems on September 21, on the sidelines of the High-Level Meetings on Health. If you’ll be in town for UNGA78, we invite you to reach out for a meeting and join us at our side event—keep scrolling to learn more and meet our delegation.

Contact Ilayda Orankoy if you’d like to set up a meeting, and follow us on social media to stay up-to-date with #PathfinderatUNGA78.   

Check back for more Pathfinder at UNGA events.

Building Climate-Adaptive Health Systems in Partnership with Communities, Women, and Youth

Date: Thursday, September 21 | Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM EST
Where: Apella by Alexandria, Suite 207, 450 East 29th St, 2nd Fl, New York, NY 10016

Climate change has far-reaching implications on every aspect of life, particularly health. From heightened food and water insecurity, to added strain on overburdened health systems, to increased risk of non-communicable diseases and pandemics, climate change threatens to undo decades of progress in global health. This includes progress toward achieving universal health coverage. Furthermore, these negative impacts are not gender neutral—climate change exacerbates existing inequities, meaning women and girls are more often disproportionately affected.  

Because women and girls stand the most to lose, it’s of utmost importance that we make investments in women’s leadership now—so we can ensure that women and girls are elevated as changemakers in their communities and that they have the tools to implement resilient, local, and rights-based solutions to climate adaptation. 

The event will be an opportunity to share promising models, approaches, and emerging solutions for sustaining and strengthening health systems through the climate crisis. The panel and audience will explore how the leadership of women and girls can contribute to achievement of national climate change commitments and implementation of related policies. Discussions will highlight the collaborative efforts of governments, UN agencies, civil society, and donors – while bringing forth the voices and experiences of women, youth, and their communities. The panel will demonstrate how health systems, particularly local health facilities and community health workers, can work with communities, women, and youth to improve access to quality services, including during crises caused by climate change. 

Meet the Pathfinder Delegation

Lydia Saloucou | @LSaloucou 
President, Africa
Burkina Faso

Lydia Saloucou Zoungrana was selected as Pathfinder’s President, Africa, in April 2023. Based in Ouagadougou, she will lead the program portfolio in sub-Saharan Africa, collaborating closely with country directors across the continent. Prior to this appointment, Lydia served as Pathfinder’s country director in Burkina Faso since 2016. 

Amina Aminu Dorayi | @aminadorayi 
Country Director

Dr. Amina Aminu Dorayi is a physician and public health professional with 17 years’ extensive experience in designing and managing health system and sustainable development programs aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of women, girls and communities. She is currently the Nigeria Country Director at Pathfinder International where she provides overall strategic leadership and oversees the programmatic and operational management of Pathfinder activities in Nigeria. 

Crystal Lander | @crystallander 
Chief Strategic Engagement Officer
United States 

Crystal Lander is an experienced senior policy and development expert both in the United States and globally. Ms. Lander joined Pathfinder in 2020 as the executive director of global affairs leading the design and delivering of advocacy campaigns, overseeing external engagement strategies, and serving as an ambassador for the organization globally. Recently she has been announced at the new Chief Strategic Engagement Officer where she now manages the global advocacy, communications and engagement teams and sits on the management team. 

David Shimkus
Senior Program Director, Asia, Middle East and North Africa
United States

David Shimkus has over 25 years of experience in international development and humanitarian settings. From 2004-2010 he served as Pathfinder’s Director of Business Development and returned to Pathfinder in 2019 in the role of Senior Program Director. Between assignments with Pathfinder, he held senior positions in the United Nations focusing on health partnerships and leading a global sanitation and hygiene fund. David has lived and worked in Costa Rica, Panama, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Denmark, and Switzerland. 

Maheen Dhanani
Senior Program Officer, Asia, Middle East and North Africa

Maheen Dhanani is a Senior Program Officer for South Asia, Middle East, and North Africa at Pathfinder International. Her focus lies in the intersection of global public health and climate change initiatives. With a master’s degree in health administration, she works towards multi-country program management for impactful outcomes. Maheen is a published children’s book author and a frequent contributor to the national newspaper on topics around international development. Her experience in sustainability for Low- and Middle-Income Countries underscores her dedication to contribute to a healthier and more sustainable world. 

Ilayda Oranköy
Global Affairs Specialist
United States 

Ilayda Orankoy has been with Pathfinder since January 2019. Originally hired as a Communications Intern for the Evidence to Action (E2A) Project, Ilayda has since played a number of roles in external engagement and communications. In her current role, she supports the Director of Advocacy and Engagement by leading on conference and event coordination. Ilayda is Pathfinder’s primary point of contact for UNGA78—please reach out to her with any inquiries regarding Pathfinder’s delegation or events. 

Nellie Simmons
Chief of Staff, President of Africa
United States

Nellie Simmons works as the Chief of Staff for the Africa Region under Lydia Saloucou. Nellie joined Pathfinder in 2018, starting out in HR as part of the recruiting team. Eventually, Nellie would shift their skillset to become the executive assistant to the Chief Operating Officer and later to the Chief of Country and Program Strategy. During the shift to the Country-Led Strategy, Nellie has been an integral part of ensuring people, systems, and processes transition from a “headquarters” style operation to a more country-led, country-owned way of operating.  

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