Global ARCH joins birth defects contingent at UNGA2023

Global ARCH / Global ARCH joins birth defects contingent at UNGA2023

Global ARCH joins birth defects contingent at UNGA2023

Global ARCH joined Operation Smile, Miracle Feet, and Children’s HeartLink at the UN General Assembly meeting on September 21 to speak up for the needs of children born with birth defects around the globe in need of surgical correction or other treatment, and how to advocate with policymakers for their inclusion in the universal health coverage agenda.

This high-level meeting, sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations and the Malaysia Ministry of Health was an important opportunity to advocate for progress in achieving health for all.

Global ARCH representative Belen Blanton, founder of Fundacion Estrellita de Belen, an active non-profit that provides cardiac care to low-income children in Venezuela, spoke about her experience as a child with congenital heart disease growing up in Venezuela. Global ARCH president Amy Verstappen, and Bistra Zheleva wearing both Global ARCH and Children’s HeartLink hats, served as moderators. Board member Anu Gomanju, an active advocate with the NCDI Poverty Network, also participated along with our new executive director, 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.