Global ARCH attends PEN-Plus regional strategy to address severe NCDs in Africa

Global ARCH / Global ARCH attends PEN-Plus regional strategy to address severe NCDs in Africa

Global ARCH attends PEN-Plus regional strategy to address severe NCDs in Africa

In April, Global ARCH Executive Director Kate Doherty-Schmeck and Board member Ruth Ngwaro attended the inaugural international conference on the PEN-Plus regional strategy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to address severe and chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Health experts, survivors, and leaders advanced discussions on ending NCDs. They gathered with health ministries, African country leaders and health ministry officials, NCD group leaders, patient leaders, and major funders​ who collaboratively move this work forward.

As an active member of the Advocacy Summit, Ruth was invited to speak about her experience living with congenital heart disease, as well as her advocacy work with PEN-Plus, Global ARCH, and Kenya Mended Hearts Patient Association.

Ruth Ngwaro, center

Kate and Ruth also visited the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute, an essential cardiac program that has seen remarkable growth, and provides lifelong cardiac care for patients in Tanzania.

Kate said that the 3 main takeaway messages form the meeting were:

  • The importance of collaboration across multiple types of diseases.
  • The role of patients and families in being vital partners in finding solutions.
  • The power of patient and family voices to better understand the burden of NCDs and to call for change to improve (and save) lives.

“I was thrilled to be invited to this conference to hear from leaders, continue to identify opportunities for collaboration across different diseases, and hear from the patients themselves.” -Kate Doherty-Schmeck

Global ARCH

Nahimeh Jaffar 

Nahimeh Jaffar has worked as a certified Project Manager (PMP) in various fields, including Public Health, Biotech, and Pharmaceuticals, working within clinical settings such as hospitals and clinics. In addition, she worked with global communities in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, supporting various social impact projects. Ms. Jaffar has been involved in preventive health initiatives in collaboration with the Center for Disease Control (CDC, USA) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS, USA).


Ms. Jaffar holds an MBA in Business Development from the Swiss Institute of Higher Management, Vevey, Switzerland, and a bachelor’s degree in Consumer Affairs from California State University, Northridge, USA.

Amy Verstappen, President

Amy Verstappen has been a patient advocate and health educator since 1996, when her own challenges living with a complex heart defect led her to the Adult Congenital Heart Association, where she served as president from 2001 to 2013. She has served as an advisor to the Centers for Disease Control the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; and the International Society for Adult Congenital Cardiac Disease, and worked with congenital heart patient and professional groups throughout the USA and the world.  Ms. Verstappen received a Masters in Education in 1990 and a Masters in Global Health in 2019.