Ogweno Stephen, a Kenyan public health expert, has been appointed to the World Obesity Federation’s Board. Stephen joins the board at a time when obesity rates continue to rise globally, affecting over 650 million adults and 124 million children.
As a member of the Board, Stephen will provide insight into the experiences of people living with obesity, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where rates of obesity are increasing rapidly. Stephen’s appointment comes at a crucial time as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of addressing obesity, which is a significant risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes.
Stephen’s appointment to the World Obesity Federation’s board is not his first contribution to the global health space. He currently serves on other boards including in the Global NCD Alliance, The World Health Organization Global Coordinating Mechanism and he has also previously worked on projects related to non-communicable diseases and mental health, including the NCDs 365 project, which aims to raise awareness about non-communicable diseases and advocate for their prevention and control.
Ogweno Stephen with Johanna Ralston, President World Obesity Federation
Stephen’s work in public health is not limited to his contributions to global health initiatives. He is also the founder of Lifesten Health, a digital health company that aims to improve access to healthcare in Kenya and Rwanda. The company has been instrumental in providing telemedicine services and connecting people in underserved areas to healthcare professionals.
Despite some progress in addressing the obesity epidemic in Kenya, the country still has a long way to go. According to a report by the World Obesity Federation, Kenya’s obesity rate increased from 4.5% in 2000 to 8.5% in 2016. In addition, there is a lack of political will to address the issue, and some have criticized the government for not implementing effective policies to reduce obesity rates.
Ogweno Stephen at the UN
Stephen’s appointment to the World Obesity Federation’s board is not only a significant achievement for him but also a reflection of the potential that Kenyans have in contributing to global health initiatives. His work in public health, particularly in addressing non-communicable diseases and mental health, is a testament to his commitment to improving health outcomes in Kenya and beyond.
In conclusion, Ogweno Stephen’s appointment to the World Obesity Federation’s board is a significant achievement not only for him but also for Kenya and the African continent. His expertise in public health and experience in addressing non-communicable diseases will be invaluable in addressing the obesity epidemic, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Stephen’s work in public health is a testament to the potential that Kenyans have in contributing to global health initiatives and improving health outcomes in their countries and beyond.