The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa this week inaugurated the first cohort of candidates of the Mwele Malecela Mentorship (MMM) Programme for Women in Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), established in 2022 in honour of the visionary behind the 2030 WHO road map for NTDs, and one of Africa’s most respected scientists.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, announced the opening of applications for the new programme in honour of Dr Mwele Malecela, who passed away last year. Dr Malecela, a former director of Neglected Tropical Diseases in WHO/HQ and Director of the Office of the Regional Director in WHO/AFRO, was the first female director-general of Tanzania’s National Institute for Medical Research, a pioneer in the fight against NTDs.
The programme is focused on mid-career African women living in African countries and working in the area of NTDs. It aims to help them overcome barriers to realizing their full potential, paving the way to them becoming leaders and champions for NTD elimination at home and internationally.
“The selected mentees have undergone a rigorous selection process, considering their achievements, potential and deep commitment to continuous learning. I encourage them to approach this experience with an open mind, a hunger for knowledge and a willingness to step outside their comfort zone,” Dr Moeti said.
The inaugural cohort of 10 women are: Ms Chinenye Bembir,Dr Basiliana Emidi, Ms Deborah Mensah, Ms Rolayo Toyin Emmanuel, Ms Lydia Mosi, Ms Christine Wanjala, Ms AlvineChristelle Kengne, Ms Faraja Serephin Lyamuya, Dr Rose Elisabeth Peme Monteil, and Dr Nissou Ines Dossa. They will each receive a 2023 stipend of US$ 15 000 to foster their leadership and skills development journeys.
With a long-term commitment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the programme will fittingly run through to 2030 to reflect Dr Malecela’s own commitment to the 2030 WHO NTD road map. Other supporters include Menttium, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the END Fund.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.