A 44-year-old Nigerian medical doctor, Obinna Onyekwena, who supports developing countries in tackling infectious diseases has been appointed as a deputy director in disease advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington.
Established in 2000 by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, the foundation works to help improve people’s health in developing countries with the ultimate aim of giving them a chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.
In his new role, Obinna will be responsible for leading the foundation’s strategies and portfolio of investments for increasing political commitment, resourcing, and implementation of HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria, the Neglected Tropical Diseases and The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The infectious disease expert earned his medical degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and an MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom.
Prior to his appointment, he had an outstanding 10-year career at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria where he supported the strengthening of national responses to three of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria – and managed investments that successfully scaled up innovation in delivery of HIV services across Africa and Asia.
An excited Obinna broke the news of his appointment via his Linkedin account on Sunday.
He wrote, “Friends and colleagues, I’m thrilled to share that I will be joining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as their new Deputy Director, Infectious Disease Advocacy, based in Seattle, Washington.
“In this new role I will be leading the advancement of the foundation’s HIV, TB, Malaria and NTD advocacy strategies in partnership with the Program Advocacy and Communications team.
“I am grateful for the incredible experience and strong friendships from my time at The Global Fund and the confidence bestowed on me by leadership at the Gates Foundation.
“I believe there is no better transition to make at this time than to a family working hard together to create a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life.”
The announcement on his LinkedIn page has since elected hundreds of congratulatory messages from friends, professional colleagues and associates.
According to his resume, the young medical professional has a track record of outstanding work and corporate awards, leading initiatives that have resulted in evidenced-based policy and impactful interventions, including designing, resourcing, and managing catalytic investments that have delivered outsized value or return on investment on outcomes for people living with HIV.
He is also said to be grounded with deep understanding of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG3 and a subject matter expert with well established relationships in the global health technical, policy and donor space, particularly related to HIV, TB, Malaria, and S3xual and Reproductive Health.
Earlier in his career, Obinna was the Associate Director in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation at FHI360 Nigeria where he played a major role in the advancement of national policies and scale up of Nigeria’s HIV, TB and Malaria programmes and led studies to understudy systems for Maternal and Child Health in Northern Nigeria.