WHO Regional Office for Africa

A Namibian visual artist, Hage Mukwendje, handed over a special painting to the World Health Organization on 21 January 2022 at the UN-House, Windhoek, Namibia. The painting was done as part of the LEAD Innovation Challenge Grand Finale event held end of last year on the 24th of November 2021 and illustrates the importance of respecting our environment for future generations.

Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses, the WHO Representative for Namibia who received the painting on behalf of the WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said  WHO invested close to NAD 70 million to support and strengthen the Namibian’s Covid-19 response and aims to mobilize more resources to ensure better case management outcomes, protection of health workers against infection, increased uptake of vaccines and adherence to public health and social measures, strengthen capacity of laboratory services, ensure continuation of essential health services as well as communicating and engaging communities.  

 The LEAD Innovation Challenge is WHO’s internal call to action for the workforce to solve problems big and small. The programme aims to encourage the WHO workforce with diverse backgrounds, experiences, insights, and expertise by bringing teams together and providing a safe environment to explore and experiment.

In 2021 the WHO workforce innovated on two themes: Going Green for Health and The Year of the WHO workforce. During the Grand Finale event Hage painted a portrait titled “My Future Matters” in 9 minutes, bringing out the innovation themes of thinking outside the box, thinking creatively, and connecting seemingly unconnected dots.

The portrait, “My Futures Matters”, tells the story of a young girl living in the slums in Windhoek, covering her mouth and nose with a leaf to protect herself from the covid virus. In this poignant piece of art Hage not only illustrates the importance of us protecting the environment but that our environment is our protector. Earth is our home and she will keep us and future generations if we steward her well.

Hage is a Namibian visual artist who finds inspiration in his own story and utilizes real life experiences that we face as humanity as subject matters. He is a humanitarian at heart whose work depicts the vulnerability of humanity, and our longing for protection. He has exhibited his work in Namibia, England, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, USA and Spain.

With only 27.2% (11 Jan) of Namibians fully vaccinated, Dr Sagoe-Moses urged artists like Hage to use their form of art to promote vaccination against COVID-19 to help increase the demand and uptake of COVID-19 vaccine.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.

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