2016 Keynote Speakers

Robin Gorna

Robin Gorna is the Executive Director at the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) at the World Health Organisation which was created in 2005 to help achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 and aims to continue to promote a post-2015 agenda in support of women’s and children’s health. She has close to thirty years’ worth of experience working on global health and development issues.

Having received her BA and MA (Hons) in Theology from the University of Oxford, Robin focused her career on issues of gender and health and in particular HIV & AIDS. This led her to work across a variety of regions and continents from Australia as the Executive Director of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisation (AFAO) to the UK and then Southern Africa working on behalf of the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID).

She established and led the Global AIDS Policy Team for the UK government’s Department for International Development and represented the UK on delegations to the UN General Assembly and UNAIDS and led the focus on AIDS and Africa through the UK’s G8 and EU Presidencies in 2005. Robin then took on the role of Executive Director of the International AIDS Society (IAS) – a global organisation of more than 14,000 AIDS professionals working across 190 countries.

Prior to joining PMNCH, Robin founded and spent close to five years as the Executive Director of AIDS Strategy, Advocacy and Policy (ASAP) – a community-based consultancy with a clear commitment to end the AIDS crisis and poverty. ASAP delivers on a variety of projects and supports an extensive range of clients to advance programmes and develop strategies that focus on gender and health issues as well as AIDS, TB and malaria.

Find out more about Robin and her current role at PMNCH here.

Sir Eldryd Parry

Professor Sir Eldryd Parry is founder of the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) – a global health organisation that trains and supports health workers in close to thirty countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East mainly through ties with their counterparts in the UK. Sir Eldryd has countless years of experience working as a physician and as an academic in global health in numerous developing countries.

Sir Eldryd graduated B.Chir in Natural Sciences (for Medicine) in 1955 from Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He went on to train as a physician in Cardiff and subsequently in London where he was seconded to Ibadan, Nigeria from 1960 to 1963. He then spent more than twenty years in academic medicine across Africa becoming Dean of Medicine at the University of Florin, Nigeria, and the now Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.

In 1988, Sir Eldryd founded THET which he chaired until 2007. Over its close to thirty year existence, THET has supported health worker training projects in over 200 health partnerships with hospitals and universities as well as managing Somaliland and Zambia’s national health programmes. Its primary focus is to bring long-term improvements to health care in developing countries and provide international volunteering for graduates of British medical schools.

Throughout his prolific career, Sir Eldryd has received countless honours for his work. He is an honorary fellow at the University of Cardiff, Emmanuel College, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (from which he also received a lifetime achievement award in 2007) to name but a few. He is the senior editor of the award-winning Principles of Medicine in Africa. He received his OBE in 1982 and was appointed KCMG in 2011.

Find out more about Sir Eldryd and THET here.

Seth Cochran

Seth Cochran is the founder of Operation Fistula – a start-up charity which was created in 2008 in order to focus on building and expanding healthcare capacity to treat obstetric fistula in the developing world. Seth is an award-winning social entrepreneur and contributor to numerous charities and maternal health projects and whose field work has provided him with first-hand experience across five continents.

Initially training as an engineer, Seth graduated from Cornell University with a BSc in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering and a joint MEng in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering & Financial Engineering before eventually joining ADC Telecom as Head of Operations Finance. There he led the construction of a manufacturing plant in the Czech Republic and developed ADC Telecom’s corporate foundation activities in Germany.

However, in 2008 Seth decided to leave the corporate world behind and founded Operation Fistula (then OperationOF). This would lead Seth to embark on a 5,000 mile journey across East Africa to develop Operation Fistula and evaluate existing public and community based healthcare systems and organisations. Operation Fistula’s focus is on finding and funding medical local medical professionals in developing countries who perform fistula repair surgeries for those in need.

As well as sitting on the Board of Directors of Operation Fistula, Seth continues to expand his focus within maternal and child health. He provides independent consulting for charities such as Smile Train and MiracleFeet and recently joined Baylor College of Medicine as an Assistant Professor. In 2010 Seth was named by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force as one of 15 Young Champions of Maternal Health.

Find out more about Seth and his current role at Operation Fistula here.