About us?

AMREF is the acronym in English of the African Foundation for Medicine and Research, the largest African health organization, founded in 1957. AMREF conducts 145 health programs a year to help about 7 million people in Africa. Headquartered in Nairobi with offices around the world, we promote access to health care for the continent’s most vulnerable and marginalized population, with a special emphasis on women and children. We improve access to life-saving treatments, and prevent diseases through community health education. The work of AMREF has reached a great dimension and influence during the last 55 years, being AMREF International the leading organization of development in health in Africa.

Working closely with communities and African states in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Senegal, our projects are relevant and sustainable and focus on:

  • Fighting diseases (AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis …)
  • Provide care for mothers and children
  • Train African health professionals
  • Provide drinking water and basic sanitation
  • Provide health care to remote communities with the Flying Doctors service.

AMREF has received the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Award and the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Aid Award.

Why start a campaign like this?

AMREF is the leading African public health NGO and has more than 50 years of experience in health development in Africa. AMREF works from within communities, with and for women, since they are the heart of the communities.

Focusing on midwifery training as the focus of this campaign, AMREF seeks to raise awareness of the critical role of women and mothers in achieving a healthy Africa, and the need to increase the number of health professionals to reduce maternal mortality rates. Mothers and children.

The Stand Up for African Mothers! Is designed to spread a clear and simple message that gets attention:

  • Healthy Africa Means Healthy Mothers
  • Healthy mothers need African midwives

A clear and simple message, coherent and relevant, about our mission and our vision.

AMREF has long been working in maternal health, developing programs aimed at:

  • Reduce maternal mortality by improving access to and utilization of reproductive health services.
  • Combating the shortage of health professionals through midwife training
  • Promote preventive measures against malaria among pregnant women.
  • Prevent HIV and raise awareness about how to prevent mother-to-child transmission.
  • Educate in hygiene and improve access to safe water and basic sanitation.
  • Promote reproductive rights, helping women make informed decisions about family planning.
  • Sensitize the population on violence against women, help them gain access to the relevant services and work with the authorities to better protect women.

Our values ​​and convictions

Our values ​​and convictions

Our vision is a lasting change in the state of health in Africa

We want to see communities with the knowledge, skills and means that allow them to maintain good health. We want communities that can break the vicious circle of poor health and poverty.

We believe in the power inherent in African communities

We believe that the power for a lasting transformation of health in Africa lies in their communities.

AMREF works hand in hand with communities to develop the knowledge, skills and means to transform their health, laying the foundations that will remain for future generations.

Our history

In 1956, three physicians – Michael Wood, Archibald McIndoe and Tom Rees – developed an innovative plan to provide medical care to remote regions of East Africa where they had worked for many years as reconstructive surgeons. Spurred by the consequences of the combined effect of poverty, tropical diseases, and the lack of adequate medical services in East Africa, they shared a common vision that fanned the skirts of Kilimanjaro.

At that time in East Africa there was one doctor for every 30,000 people – in Britain the ratio was 1: 1,000. The scarce and precarious medical infrastructures, the abrupt terrain and the often impassable roads made it difficult for the rural population to access medical services. While most of the population lived, Archie, Tom and Michael conceived an air medical service as the only possible way of bringing health to these isolated communities.


AMREF was founded in 1957 to provide mobile health services and surgical support to mission hospitals in remote areas. A network of radio stations was developed to coordinate the service and facilitate communication.

The 60s

In the early 1960s, overland medical services were added to the “air clinics” to provide services in the underserved and isolated areas of the Kajiado and Narok districts in Kenya.


In 1975, the training and education of rural health professionals was already at the center of AMREF’s efforts. This included the development of teaching and learning materials for health. In the late 1970s, AMREF continued to provide mobile clinical services and maternal and child health services. It also began to focus on the provision of community-based health care and the training of community health promoters. In addition, technical support units for maternal and child health, community health, family planning and environmental health were established.

80’s years

During the 1980s, AMREF focused on community health development, collaboration with health ministries in the region and cooperation with international aid agencies. This has been the orientation of the organization during the eighties and following: greater emphasis on strengthening the capacities of health systems and the development of staff capacities, with special attention to the health needs identified by the Communities. AMREF staff gained experience in planning and managing health services at the national level; Experience that has been shared since then with the ministries of health, the first being that of Uganda.

The 90s

In the early 1990s, AMREF launched a one-year community health training course in Africa, and expanded its work to include disease control initiatives, focusing on malaria, HIV / AIDS and tuberculosis. In the mid-1990s, AMREF stepped up its HIV / AIDS efforts as the epidemic seemed to stifle much of the health gains of the 20th century and became the Health systems in poor countries.

To alleviate this growing need for health services, AMREF prioritized research, capacity building and advocacy on policies related to:

  • TB and sexually transmitted infections
  • Malaria
  • Drinking water and basic sanitation
  • Family health
  • Clinical Services
  • Materials for teaching and learning about health

During the same period, recognizing the need for partnerships at the community level, AMREF intensified its work with local groups to facilitate community-based planning, shared identification of needs and priorities, and efficient use of resources.


In recent years, AMREF has underlined the fact that, despite the huge investments in equipment, inputs and health services provided by public and private donors, a large percentage of Africans still do not have access to health services. quality.


The AMREF strategy seeks to strengthen health systems and design and improve interventions that facilitate the population’s access to health through active participation, with special attention to women and children.

Our international movement

AMREF’s strategic direction and priorities are established by the headquarters of Nairobi, Kenya. 7 offices in African countries implement AMREF health projects and work to influence the policies and practices of their respective countries, based on the strategies agreed upon with AMREF headquarters.

AMREF also has offices in North America and Europe. These 12 offices support AMREF’s work in Africa by providing funding and technical support, as well as policy-making and awareness-raising about African health in their respective countries.