Staff and Volunteers

Prof. Diran Makinde

Prof. Makinde Chair of Academic Board of Advisors, GET Consortium

Location: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Martin Diran Makinde is currently serving as a Senior Advisor in NEPAD Agency Industrialization, Science, Technology and Innovation Hub and based in Midrand Head office, South Africa. He is the immediate past Director, NEPAD Agency Planning and Coordinating Agency, African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE) based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (January 2010- April 2016).

He was formerly the Director of the NEPAD West African Biosciences Network in Dakar, Senegal (March 2007- December 2009). He earned the degrees of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1976, a PhD in Veterinary Physiology from the University of Ibadan in 1986 and Diploma in Neurophysiology from Edinburgh University in 1981. Prior to joining NEPAD Agency, he was Professor of Animal Science at the University of Venda, South Africa where he also served a five-year term as Dean of the School of Agriculture, Rural Development and Forestry (1997-2001).

In addition, he taught at the universities of Ibadan (Nigeria), 1977-1991 and Zimbabwe, 1989-1995. His research interest is in the field of gastrointestinal physiology of monogastrics, which included such areas as digestibility and intestinal transport. He developed and applied these methodologies in risk assessment studies in agricultural biotechnology and biosafety. He has well over 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals locally and internationally, as well as several contributions in the form of books/ chapters in books. He served on the Board of the AfricaBio, a biotechnology stakeholders Association based in South Africa (1999-2008). He is a C-rated scientist as evaluated (1998) by the South Africa National Research Foundation. He serves in several technical advisory boards on the continent and outside.

Dr. Olajide Idris

Dr. Olajide Idris. Member  of Academic Board of Advisors, GET Consortium

Location: Nigeria , Lagos State

Dr. Olajide Idris is a Physician, Healthcare Systems expert, Public Health specialist and research scientist. He is the immediate past Commissioner for Health for Lagos State, Nigeria’s most populous State, with 22 million inhabitants.  He was responsible for health care planning, health policy formulation, implementation as well as supervising health service delivery in the state.

Under his leadership, initially as Permanent Secretary and until recently as Chief Executive, the Lagos State’s Health system has been significantly upgraded, through a comprehensive Health Sector Reform agenda covering systems reorganization, human resource development, infrastructural development, revitalization of the primary care system, healthcare financing, health promotion and disease prevention activities.  Such activities / initiatives in Lagos State include:

1. Providing policy direction for health development and facilitating the provision of relevant regulatory frameworks
    – Development of State policies on Health care financing, Non-Communicable Disease Control, Mental Health and Disability.
    – Promulgation and review of appropriate laws to effect positive change in the health system, policies, institutions and programs
    – Establishment of governing boards for various institutions as well as decentralization of hospital management
    – Establishment of Health Sector Development Partners Forum to improve coordination, aid effectiveness and harmonize participation in the sector

2. Infrastructural upgrade spanning the three levels of the system. This includes upgrade of the Primary Healthcare Facilities, rehabilitation and upgrade of different secondary care facilities, construction and equipping of the Maternal & Child Care centers, Cardiac and Renal Center, Trauma and Burns Center, new School of Nursing and Midwifery, and the phased rehabilitation of the teaching hospital and college of medicine

3. Implementing Healthcare financing strategies including Community-based Health Insurance pilot schemes and Private sector engagement (including Private-Public Partnerships)

4. Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program Development and Implementation which includes
   – the Malaria Control program including environmental management and integrated vector control.
   – Statewide screening for Non-Communicable diseases (hypertension, diabetes and cancer)
   – Maternal and Child Mortality Control program
   – Blindness prevention program
   – Disease Surveillance

Dr Idris has over 30 years’ experience in Medical Practice, Healthcare Systems Management, Consulting, Pharmaceutical and Research.  In Medical Practice, he has worked as a medical doctor in his early and mid-career stages at hospitals and for private companies in Nigeria.  He also worked with two premier healthcare consulting companies covering healthcare planning and research, hospital management and direct provision of clinical services.  His primary research and publications have been in the cardiology field as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Columbia University, USA.Dr Idris attended the highly respected King’s College, Lagos, Nigeria.  He is a graduate of the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos, Nigeria, obtained his Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the Yale University, Connecticut, USA. , and was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Columbia University, New York, USA.

Dr. Idris led the Lagos State response team in mobilizing the resources, coordinating the collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria and other International partners in the rapid containment of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in Lagos and Nigeria.

He is a member of the American Public Health Association, the Nigerian Medical Association and a Board member, University of Ibadan Research Foundation as well as the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria. He enjoys listening to jazz music and playing golf.

Prof. Akin Abayomi

Prof. Akin Abayomi. Principal Investigator (Academic) GET Consortium.

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Akin Abayomi is the Chief Pathologist and Head of the Division of Haematology, Faculty of Medicine Sciences, University of Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa. Specialist in Internal Medicine and Haematology, Environmental Health and Biobanking, Professor Abayomi studied at the Royal Medical College of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the University of London where he attained his first graduate degree in Medicine.

Specializing in Internal Medicine and Haematology and obtaining fellowships from both Royal College of Medicine and Pathology in the United Kingdom and the College of Medicine of South Africa. He has worked in several countries around the world in both Internal Medicine and Haematology and has been exposed to a variety of geographical variations and disease patterns within the discipline of Internal Medicine and Haematology.

Professor Abayomi’s focus has mainly been on the concept of emerging diseases like HIV and TB and the development of laboratory and clinical capacity in Africa. Professor Abayomi is a PI on the H3Africa Genomic project, Director of the Cape Haematology Bone Marrow Transplant Unit and adviser to the Royal College of Pathologists for Africa. President of the South African Society of Haematology and serves on council of the International Society for Clinical Cytometry and the European, Middle East and Africa Biobanking Society.

Dr. Sahr Moses Gevao

Sierra Leone Country Lead, GET Consortium

Location: Freetown, Sierra Leone

Sahr Gevao attended the College of Medicine, University of Lagos from 1977 -1982, graduating with a Medical Degree.

He commenced residency training in Laboratory Medicine at the University College Hospital, Ibadan Nigeria specializing in Hematology and Blood Transfusion and was certified by the West African College of Physicians in 1988.

His next appointments from 1989 -1992, as a research fellow, were at the Medical Research Council Laboratories, Fajara. Banjul, the Gambia, and Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom, where he was involved in varied research projects on HIV, Polio, and Sickle cell Disease.

Gevao commenced an academic and professional career at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone and Ministry of Health and Sanitation.He was Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of the College from 2005- 2009. He served as National Manager Laboratory Services from 2009- 2013 and have extensive experience in Medical Education and Management.

Obadiah Moyo

Member of GET advisory board for Southern Africa, GET Consortium

Location: Zimbabwe

Dr Obadiah Moyo is a visionary and creative leader with a proven track record in both medical and executive management. He is an experienced manager who adopts a professional “hands on” approach. He is skilled in problem solving and obtaining achievements by using initiative and drive to gain results. Believes in loyalty and commitment to an organization, utilizing available facilities and resources to produce the best possible results.

He won several international awards in recognition of his contribution to the international society in Nephrology and Pathology. Through his achievements, he is rated as an eminent strategist in the medical industry in Zimbabwe and the region.

Educated in Zimbabwe, United Kingdom and the West Indies, Dr Moyo earned several academic qualifications among them;

  • Doctor of Medicine degree (MD)(WI),
  • Master of Philosophy degree in Medicine (MPhil Med)(Z),
  • Postgraduate Award in The Management of Chronic Kidney Disease (PGA,MCKD)(UK)
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath)(UK),
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health(FRSPH)(UK),
  • Fellow of the Society of Biology (FSB)(UK).

Dr Moyo is a registered Renal Specialist and Consultant Chemical Pathologist. In 2000, Dr Moyo was elected as Deputy President of the Health Professions Authority of Zimbabwe, which is the overall body responsible for the maintainance of good medical practice in the country and overseeing the functioning of the individual medical professional councils. In 2004 he was elected as the Acting President of Health Professions Authority until the end of his term in 2005.

Dr Moyo is a founder member of the World Council for Renal Care and is also a founder of the Zimbabwe Kidney Foundation Renal Services where he serves as the Chairman and Executive Director. He has been working for the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare since 1981. He was appointed as the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chitungwiza Central Hospital in September 2005, a position he presently holds.

Prof. Godfrey Tangwa

Prof. Godfrey Tangwa.  Member  of Academic Board of Advisors and Head of CASE Working Group, GET Consortium.

Location: Cameroon

Godfrey B. Tangwa, professor of philosophy and former Head of the Department of Philosophy, has recently retired from full time teaching at the University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon. Born in Shisong in the Northwest Region of Cameroon, he attended Sasse College in Buea and the Universities of: Nigeria in Nsukka, Ife in Ile-Ife, and Ibadan

in Ibadan. He lectured at the University of Ife from 1978-1986 and joined the University of Yaounde in 1987. He has extensive teaching and research experience in the domains of African philosophy and bioethics. He is a member of the International Association of Bioethics (IAB); was on its Board of Directors from 1997 to 2003 and served as Vice-President of the association between 1999 and 2001. He is currently the Chairperson of the Cameroon Bioethics Initiative

(CAMBIN) which he founded in 2005. He was elected fellow of the Cameroon Academy of Sciences in 2007. He has over seventy academic publications to his credit, including nine books, twenty five book chapters and over forty five peer-reviewed articles in international academic journals.

Dr. Adaora Igonoh

GET Public Relations Director & Ebola survivor Coordinator, GET Consortium

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

Ada Igonoh is a medical practitioner. She graduated from the University of Ghana Medical School in 2011, where she bagged a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree (Mb. CHb). She also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Sciences from University of Ghana 2007.

She did her one year internship at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos after graduation. She did her one year mandatory national service, serving as a doctor at the Ado-Langbasa (a suburb in Lagos, Nigeria) Primary Health Centre where she worked with other health care workers to provide basic primary health care to the communities of Ado, Langbasa, Badore and environs in Etiosa East Local Development Council, Lagos, Nigeria.

On completion of her mandatory national service, she went on to work as a medical officer at the First Consultants Medical Centre, Obalende, Lagos. Her life took a dramatic turn three weeks into the job, when she was part of the medical team that treated Nigeria’s index case of Ebola Virus Disease, Mr. Patrick Sawyer in July 2014. At the time of his admission, the hospital was not aware of his status and this led to her and a number of her colleagues contracting the virus.

She and a number of others successfully fought the virus and eventually survived against all odds. This life threatening experience has changed her total outlook to life, and she is determined to use her experience to help others suffering from the disease and to proffer solutions for a sustainable vaccine as a legacy to the memory of those that have lost their lives to the disease. She is passionate about life, God, reading and making a difference in the world.

Jennyfer Ambe

Locations: Nigeria/United States of America

Jennyfer Ambe is the International Coordinator for the Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment(GET) Consortium. Jennyfer assisted with registration of the consortium; setting up the working groups and co-ordinated the administrative tasks. She was also the Data and Safety Monitoring
Board (DSMB) coordinator for clinical trials on convalescent plasma.

Jennyfer is also a former co-chair of the Ethics, Community Engagement and Patient Advocacy Support (ECEPAS) working group. In October 2014, the ECEPAS working group played a principal role in reviewing and coming up with far reaching recommendations to the protocol of the first ever convalescent clinical trial in Liberia. The ECEPAS working group recommendations were very influential in shaping the ethical conduct and design of the trial. This protocol has been used as a reference in other subsequent clinical trials in West Africa.

Jennyfer has a keen interest in working and supporting vulnerable populations. She currently advocates for children, internally displaced people (IDP’s), women and minorities in the Washington area and West Africa. She coordinates and manages clinical trials and related projects. Jennyfer participates on CASE and ECEPAS working group activities on the GET consortium.

Pasquale De Blasio

Program Manager, Biobanking and Biodata Security,

GET Consortium Location: Milan, Italy

Pasquale de Blasio is an Engineer with several years of experience in industrial and academic positions at the international level. He was the Founder of the following Biobanking initiatives:

       1. Integrated Systems Engineering S.r.l., (present affiliation), involved EU Research Project in Management and Banking of Spem and iPS cells. ISENET, is also leader in Pathology Tissue and Cell Microarrys Technology;
  1. BioRep Srl, (up to 2011) largest European “Biorepository Service Provider” developed in collaboration with the “Coriell Institute for Medical Research USA.

He is also the Founder President of the “European, Middle-Eastern and African Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking”; and member of H3Africa, member of the “Marble Arch International Working Group of Biobanking Experts” and member of the “International Society of Biological and Environmental Biorepositories”. He can contribute to the consortium activities in the organization and management of a Process Lab and Biorepositories activities and logistics and if needed on the design and realization of Clean Rooms (BL4/BL3), Labs and Biorepository infrastructure.

Freda Suglo

Director Internal Communications, GET Consortium

Location: Accra, Ghana

Freda Suglo is an industrial psychologist with immense experience in management consulting. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from the University of Ghana driven by her curiosity to understand human behaviour; Freda’s lives by the principle that all humans are innately good and external factors account for any behaviour otherwise. Applying the principles of psychology in the work place became an aspiration for her after college which led her to pursue a Master’s Degree in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from Fairfield University graduating as a member of the Honor Society of Psychologist (PSI CHI) in the USA.

Freda is a Business advisory consultant with a focus on people and organisation management mostly instituting and inculcating the proven strategies of employee management that create a harmonious and encouraging work environment.

Freda’s strength lies in her ability to discern the quality of an organization’s outputs and to identify the internal and external causal factors contributing to problems and distortions in the organisational units. This analytical ability has been brought to bear on a number of successful People and Organisation and employee performance improvement assignments for major clients in Ghana and the United States of America.

Freda has held different roles in her career including vendor management, project management, and stakeholder coordination in both the private and public sectors and Organisational development and worked with global firms like Coca Cola, NBC Universal and Ernst & Young.

Makeda Antoine

Location: Dubai, UAE

Makeda has a Bachelors in Computer Information System (Magna Cum Laude), an Associate in General Business (Magna Cum Laude), and a Masters in Business Administration (Distinction), with emphasis on Strategic Management from Andrews University, USA. As a strategic business executive and telecommunications professional with more than ten years’ experience, her expertise includes international business, new business development, strategic partnerships, sales, product management, commercial negotiations, and project and event management. She is accustomed to a fast- paced, diverse, multicultural environment and has successfully managed annual revenues of 100 M USD. She has also successfully negotiated with the largest mobile operators across the globe e.g. AT&T, T-Mobile, Rogers, Vodafone Group, Safaricom, Airtel Group, Etisalat Group, MTN, Tigo Group, Digicel Group, Cable & Wireless Communications, Mobilis Algeria, Meditel Morocco, Telefonica Group , Orange Group and China Mobile.

Based in Dubai, she is currently the Operator Partnerships Director with responsibility for strategic partnerships, business development, relationship management and account management for the African continent. Her employer is one of the largest mobile services providers in the telecommunication industry. Her previous roles included the Group Senior Commercial Manager  and Group Roaming Product Manager for the largest telecommunications mobile provider in the Caribbean  where she was responsible for the Roaming and International Messaging business covering thirty-two (32) Business Units across the Caribbean, South America & South Pacific.

In 2012, she started Genesis International Limited that focuses on commercial negotiations, strategic management and international business for the Caribbean and Latin American regions.

Makeda has also founded Genesis the Movement; a foundation that focuses on education, youth and the elderly in Trinidad and Tobago and has recently expanded into Kenya. She is quite involved in politics and was the founding president of the Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals- an organization that functions as a progressive resource-based think tank that focuses on nation building and political leadership. Recently, three members were selected from Heliconia to be senators in the parliament of the current government. She is also the founder of OneTNT-an online space to encourage youth leadership and participation, positive social media engagement, political vigilance and community development.

Makeda has been heavily involved in community work for the last twenty five years. She is passionate about making things happen and making the world a better place starting from her corner of the world especially in areas of youth, philanthropy and politics. She believes that “vision with action can change the world.” Nelson Mandela.

Dr Maimuna Mendy

Dr. Maimuna Mendy is the Head of the International Agency for Research on Cancer Biobank. She is a Molecular Virologist by training with over 30 years’ experience on infectious diseases and cancer research in Africa. As a researcher at the Medical Research Council laboratories in the Gambia (1989-2010), she played a key role in assembling and managing longitudinal cohort studies on hepatitis B and liver cancer.

Under her leadership as Head of the Laboratory Services and Biobank Group, the IARC Biobank was centralized; the facilities and the pre-analytical services were upgraded to provide a common platform for the over 5 million stored biological samples and to provide high quality services for research conducted at IARC and internationally.  In addition, a robust and transparent governance structure was put in place to manage the resources according to international guidelines.

Dr Mendy has a broad background on capacity building in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) settings in the area of biobanking, laboratory and field research for epidemiological and molecular based studies. Realizing the need to address the shortfall in biobanking infrastructure for research, in 2010, she initiated and is the coordinator of a biobank network (BCNet) for LMIC. Twenty-five countries (including 21 African) are represented in BCNet, members are located in over 30 institutions. A key focus of the network is to provide education and training in biobanking and technical and scientific support in establishing biobanks in the various institutions. Through BCNet, she has organized national workshops and meetings (Egypt and Indonesia) and regional training and workshops for the International Academy of Pathology-West African Division and AORTIC.

Dr Mendy has an extensive experience in conducting and managing research projects, the following are some of the projects that she has been working on:

  • Hepatitis B and liver cancer studies in the Gambia funded by the UK-Medical Research Council, she conducted field and laboratory based studies on the natural history of HBV infection;
  • EU-FP7 PROLIFICA (prevention of liver fibrosis and cancer in Africa-2011-2016), the project was conducted in The Gambia, Senegal and Nigeria and she coordinated the biobanking activities
  • IARC PI for an EU-H2020 funded B3Africa (Bridging Biobanking and Biomedical Research across Europe and Africa project (2015-2018), she is responsible for the dissemination, sustainability and training activities for the project which aims at providing integrated open source biobanking and bio-informatics platform (eB3Kit) and will include ethical and regulatory framework.

Dr Mendy is a member of the following international organizations:

Member-BBMRI-ERIC (Management Committee and Assembly of Members)
Member- ISBER (International Society for Biological and Environmental Repository)
Member- ESBB (European Middle Eastern and African Biopreservation & Biobanking)
Member- AORTIC (African Organization of Research and Training in Cancer); Vice-President for Europe (2014-2017)
Member- Independent expert committee for the H3Africa Biorepository
Fellow -The Institute of Biomedical Sciences (FIBMS)