Building a Fairer, Healthier World

A Future with Health Equity for All


COVID-19 has hit all countries hard, but its impact has been harshest on those communities which were already vulnerable, who are more exposed to the disease, less likely to have access to quality health care services and more likely to experience adverse consequences as a result of measures implemented to contain the pandemic. This Civil Society Briefing will examine access to the vaccine globally, the mental health toll on health care workers and highlight the urgent need to invest in health workers for shared dividends in health, jobs, economic opportunity, and equity. 

This briefing is co-organized by the UN Department of Global Communications, American Medical Women's Association, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and Centre for Public Health.         

 14 April 2021

9:30 - 11 a.m. EDT





Hawa Diallo, Chief of the Civil Society Unit at the Civil Society and Advocacy Section, UN Department of Global Communications has extensive United Nations experience in public information outreach and fostering civil society partnerships, with a particular emphasis on youth and women’s organizations. Ms. Diallo began her United Nations career in 1987 in the Department of Public Information and has served in two United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Cambodia and Somalia, respectively. She has also worked for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat) in Nairobi, as an Associate Human Settlements Officer and as a Partners and Youth Officer. 




Padmini Murthy  is a physician and an activist who trained in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has practiced medicine and public health for the past 28 years in various countries. She has been working in various arenas of the health care industry including as a consultant for the UNFPA. Her areas of expertise include women’s health, global health diplomacy, health policy and service delivery and health literacy. Dr. Murthy currently serves as the Secretary General of the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) and its NGO representative to the United Nations (UN). She is global health lead for the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). Dr. Murthy also serves as Chair of the International Health Section of the American Public Health Association, which is one of the largest associations of public health professionals in the world. Dr. Murthy is widely published on various platforms and is the author and editor of Women's Global Health and Human Rights (Jones and Bartlett, 2010) and Technology and Global Public Health (Springer, 2020), both of which are used as textbooks worldwide. She has made over 150 presentations on women’s and children’s health nationally and internationally in scientific conferences and at the United Nations and as an invited speaker globally. She has been the recipient of several awards such as Sojouner Truth Pin, Elizabeth Blackwell medal. She has been working with multiple stakeholders including NGOS, Governments on promoting women’s health projects globally.


Zubair Hasan is an Attending Physician in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York. He joined the faculty in 2019 after completing his fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at North Shore and LIJ, where he also served as a Chief Fellow. He graduated from the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at the City College of New York in 2010 and from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in 2012.  He completed residency training in Internal Medicine at North Shore and LIJ, where he also served as Chief Resident. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care Medicine, and is a diplomate in Critical Care Echocardiography. He has interests in point of care ultrasonography, acute lung injury, and ECMO.  He was born in Queens, NY, and grew up in Long Island, where he currently lives with his wife.




C’fine Okorochukwu is currently a director with the Global NGO Executive Committee and founder of Centre for Public Health, an organization he started from the University of Nigeria as an undergraduate, then a University-based organization, he nurtured it to a National organization that is operating in 24 states out of 36 states in Nigeria. Under his leadership Centre for Public Health was granted special consultative status to Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nation in 2010 and 2015 was associated with United Nations- Department of Global Communication (DGC). CPH networked with other CSOs in forming Global Action Network with 32 members currently a platform to advance the health of women all over the world. Africa NGO Forum was also established to mentor upcoming African CSOs with 68 members in two months. Dr. C’fine also initiated End Cervical Cancer, through Networking with other organizations, he has trained 200,000 women on cervical cancer, 2300 Women between 25 to 65 years have done their cervical screening. For the first time in Nigeria, he is about vaccinating 5,000 boys and girls between 9 to 14 years. During this COVID-19 pandemic CPH established a telemedicine platform to take care of people with other diseases that were neglected because of COVID 19. They also established a hotline to address the issue of domestic violence that became pandemic in pandemic.


Janice Hawkins is a UN Liaison with Sigma Theta Tau International in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. She is also a State Leader for the UN Foundation Shot@Life Campaign. Janice is a retired US Army Nurse. Her travels all over the world as well as her clinical background in maternal-child nursing have led to a greater awareness of the need for access to life-saving vaccinations for all.



Aleksandra Saša Gorišek currently manages the Office of the Strategic Communications Director at the United Nations (UN) Department of Global Communications (DGC). She works very closely with the UN Information Centres and the Resident Coordinator Offices around the world, facilitating stories from the field for the global COVID-19 portal and coordinating the Verified campaign in the field. Prior to her current assignment, Saša was Chief of Media Monitoring in DGC. Previously, she served as communications adviser to the Head of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism, and to the Deputy Director General for Nuclear Sciences and Applications at the IAEA. She started her UN career in 2000 with the United Nations Information Service in Vienna, Austria. She later moved to New York where she organized weekly briefings for NGOs, and – as a UN Television producer – filmed stories about women in Afghanistan, climate change in the Pacific, and coca eradication in Peru. Before joining the UN, Saša was a radio and television journalist in her native Slovenia and a stringer for the BBC World Service and the VoA.