African Women in NTD Battle Get Boost from WHO's Mwele Malecela Mentorship Program

The World Health Organization's (WHO) Regional Office for Africa has made a significant announcement, revealing the distinguished recipients of the inaugural Mwele Malecela Mentorship (MMM) Programme for Women in Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). This groundbreaking initiative, launched in 2022 as a tribute to the esteemed Dr Mwele Malecela, who played a pivotal role in shaping WHO's 2030 roadmap for NTDs, marks a significant step forward in the battle against these debilitating diseases.

Designed specifically to empower mid-career African women actively engaged in NTD work across the continent, the MMM Programme seeks to dismantle barriers that impede their progress. By nurturing these women into formidable leaders and advocates for NTD elimination on both local and global platforms, the initiative is positioned to unlock their untapped potential.

The inaugural cohort, comprising 10 exceptional women, is poised to embark on a transformative journey. Each recipient will be granted a stipend of US$15,000 in 2023, aimed at fostering their leadership skills and personal growth. Thanks to the steadfast support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this program is slated to continue until 2030, aligning with Dr. Malecela's unwavering commitment to the 2030 WHO NTD roadmap. Additional backing is provided by esteemed partners such as Menttium, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the END Fund.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Regional Director for Africa, implored the selected participants – Ms Chinenye Bembir, Dr Basiliana Emidi, Ms Deborah Mensah, Ms Rolayo Toyin Emmanuel, Ms Lydia Mosi, Ms Christine Wanjala, Ms Alvine Christelle Kengne, Ms Faraja Serephin Lyamuya, Dr Rose Elisabeth Peme Monteil, and Dr Nissou Ines Dossa – to approach this opportunity with open minds, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and a willingness to step outside their comfort zones.

This forward-looking program envisions mentorship, training, and networking as catalysts that will accelerate the mission of NTD elimination while bolstering healthcare across the African continent. Aligned with the Global NTD roadmap, this visionary initiative bears the potential to reshape the landscape of NTD eradication, underscoring the enduring legacy of Dr Mwele Malecela in the fight against these diseases.

Article by Nyokabi Wanjiku