INDEPTH Board elects new Chair

20 Mar 2017

The INDEPTH Network Board of Trustees meeting in Dubai on 15 March 2017 elected Prof. Tumani Corrah as the Board Chair. He takes over from Prof. Peter Byass who acted interim Board Chair from November 2016 after Prof. Marcel Tanner stepped down during INDEPTH 2016 Annual General Meeting in Kampala, Uganda.

Prof. Corrah is the Director of the Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) and also MRC’s Foundation Director of Africa Research Development and the first Emeritus Director of the Medical Research Council Unit (MRC), The Gambia. Tumani Corrah’s role plays to his personal passion for growing a new generation of outstanding African researchers working in Africa: AREF gives much-needed support to bright, early postdoctoral African scientists to compete and win grants, enabling them to continue their health research careers in Africa.

He has over thirty years of progressively senior-level experience in a leading research institution in Africa – the MRC Unit in The Gambia. There, he rose through the ranks to the position of Unit Director, a position he held through many challenges for over ten years.

For three decades, Prof. Corrah has retained active research interests in tropical and infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, HIV and malaria. He is medically qualified and holds a PhD from his studies on tuberculosis which included the ground-breaking science of the introduction of immunotherapy as an adjunct treatment for tuberculosis in The Gambia.
 
Tumani will be assisted by Mr. Pali Jobo Lehohla as the Board Vice-Chair. Pali is the Statistician-General of South Africa, a position he held since 2000. He has served as co-chair of PARIS21 and the Chair of the United Nations Statistics Commission. He was the founding chair of the Statistics Commission of Africa (StatCom Africa) and chairs the African Symposium for Statistical Development (ASSD).

He was the Vice President of the International Statistics Institute (ISI), and sponsors the Young African Statistician (YAS) movement. He served on the 25-member panel on Data Revolution appointed by the UN Secretary General, and has recently been appointed to the Independent Accountability Panel for the health of women, children and adolescents. Mr. Lehohla has been a forceful advocate for improving the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics systems in Africa.
 
The primary role of the Board is to provide oversight and accountability for the activities of the Resource & Training Centre based in Accra and the Network operating under the leadership of Prof. Osman Sankoh who is the Executive Director. Osman, a Sierra Leonean, assumed leadership of INDEPTH Network in October 2007 after serving as Deputy Executive Director from mid 2006.
From 2002-2006 he was responsible for the Network's scientific programme and external relations. Osman has many years of experience in health and demographic surveillance and in networking of international scientists and research institutions.
 
Prof. Peter Byass, the outgoing interim Board Chair, is the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee. Peter is currently Professor of Global Health at the University of Umeå, in Northern Sweden, and is Director of the Umeå Centre for Global Health Research. He also holds honorary Professorships at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and the University  of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
In recent years one of his specialist research interests has been the development of probabilistic models for interpreting verbal autopsy material, initiating the now widely-used InterVA model. He works closely with the WHO.
 
Prof. Marcel Tanner, the immediate past Chair of the INDEPTH Board, is the former Director of Swiss TPH in Basel, Switzerland and professor of epidemiology and medical parasitology at the University of Basel.  Marcel is chair of the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) and member of the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) of WHO; chair of the INCLEN Trust 
and of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi); chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of FIND and is member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases in Singapore.  In 2016 he was elected President of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) as well as High Level Representative North of European and Developing Countries' Clinical Trials Partnership.
 
Dr. Josephine Odera is one of the three appointed members of the Board. She is the Director of Africa Centre for Transformative & Inclusive Leadership. Before her appointment at ACTIL, she was the Regional Director, West and Central Africa, UN Women and then briefly served as Regional Advisor, Leadership & Governance at the United Nations Women Regional Office for East and Southern Africa. Dr. Odera holds a
PhD degree in Conflict Management from the University of Ghent, Belgium having previously obtained a master’s degree in Economics, a Bachelor of philosophy degree in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Other members of the Board who are elected by INDEPTH member centres are the following:
 
Prof. Nguyen Thi Kim Chuc is Vice Director of Family Medicine Department at Hanoi Medical University in Vietnam. Her field of expertise is the assessment of Health Care system and medical education systems and the implementation of national and international research in Health sector, particularly in the area of primary health care.  Prof. Chuc is the leader of Filabavi Demographic Surveillance System Site in Vietnam.
 
Dr. Muluemebet Abera, is the Centre Leader for Gilgel Gibe HDSS site in Ethiopia. She is an Associate Professor of Reproductive Health in the Department of Population and Family Health at Jimma University in Ethiopia, the parent institution for the HDSS.  She holds a PhD degree in international health from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany. She is the Dean of the Faculty of Public Health.
 
Prof. Abdramane Soura is the centre leader for the Ouagadougou HDSS urban site in Burkina Faso, run by the University of Ouagadougou. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Statistics from the National School of Statistics in Dakar, Senegal. He pursued Masters and PhD programmes in Demography at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.
 
Prof. Alemayehu Worku pursued his graduate studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany where he obtained his PhD in Biostatistics. He joined the School of Public Health of Addis Ababa University in 1999. His major areas of public health research are sexual and reproductive health, HIV, TB, malaria and eye diseases. He represents the Butajira HDSS site in Ethiopia.
 
Prof.  Oche Mansur Oche is currently the Head of Department of Community Health at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital in Sokoto and Director of Nahuce HDSS in Nigeria. He is also an Honorary Consultant Public Health Physician with the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital in Sokoto.
Prof. Oche has been the Coordinator of the Health Diplomacy Training Programme for Northern Nigeria, WHO National Immunization officer for Sokoto State and Co-Principal Investigator for the WHO Polio Sero-Prevalence study for Sokoto and Kebbi states of Nigeria.
 
Dr. Walter Otieno is a Senior Researcher with the Kenya Medical Research Institute/US Army Medical Research Unit. He received his medical degree, Masters in Medicine (Paediatrics) and Doctorate degrees from the University of Nairobi in Kenya. He is a member of board of several hospitals within Kisumu County and several professional bodies.
  
Dr. Kofi Baku is the Secretary to the Board. He is a legal Practitioner and a Notary Public. He is also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon-Accra.