Speaker Bios: Stronger with Primary Health Care: Measuring & Improving Health Systems for Crises & Beyond

    Dr. Venko Filipce, Minister of Health, North Macedonia

    Venko Filipce was born on June 13, 1977 in Skopje.  He graduated from the Medical Faculty in Skopje in 2001, and in 2008 he completed his specialization in neurosurgery. He defended his master's degree in neurosurgery in 2011 and his doctoral dissertation in 2015. In 2004 he was elected assistant at the Medical Faculty in Skopje, and since 2017 he has been an assistant professor at the same faculty. During his work he trained in neurosurgical centers in Graz, Belgrade, Dayton, Columbus, Istanbul, Zurich.

    Filipce is the secretary of the Macedonian Neurosurgery Association as well as a member of the executive committee of the Association of Neurosurgeons of Southeast Europe, and in 2016 he was the organizer of the Macedonian-Japanese Neurovascular Conference. In 2012, he completed a fellowship in interventional neuroradiology, becoming the first neurosurgeon in Macedonia and the surrounding countries to establish hybrid neurosurgery at the home clinic in Skopje. He is the author of several publications published in domestic and foreign journals in the field of neurosurgery. In the period from June to December 2017, the position of external collaborator is performed by a prominent expert in the field of health of the Prime Minister.

    Since August 30, 2020, he has been the Minister of Health in the second term of the Government led by the Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

    Dr. Armindo Daniel Tiago, Minister of Health, Mozambique

    dR. Armindo Daniel Tiago, a graduate medical doctor (1993) and specialist in endocrinology (2009) has been teaching physiology at the faculty of Medicine, Eduardo Mondlane University for past 26 years. His doctoral thesis in genetics of cardiovascular of complex cardiovascular traits (Wits University 2003) has contributed to improvement in understanding of hypertension and heart failure in patients of African ancestry. As a member (2004) and chairperson of Mozambican Diabetic Association (2012 to date), Tiago has contributed to better care of people with diabetes mellitus in Mozambique by writing guidelines, providing training and supervision to health care professionals Countrywide. As lecturer and researcher, Tiago regularly attends national and international training and scientific events in fields of interest such as malaria, diabetes and medical education with pear review articles and manuals. In his areas of interest, Tiago has participated and made presentations in conferences and scientific events in Africa, America, Europe and Australia. Tiago worked as case management national adviser for the National Malaria Control Program in Mozambique As a physiologist, Tiago is a strong believer that health care improvement is a result of integration and interdisciplinary action with clear roles definition among intervenients. Tiago is affiliated to national boards such as Mozambican Medical and Mozambican Medical council, Mozambican Science Academy.

    Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, Director General of Health Malaysia

    Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah is a Senior Consultant Surgeon in Breast and Endocrine Surgery, Putrajaya Hospital and has held the post of Director General of Health Malaysia since March 2013. His area of expertise is in breast and endocrine cancers, with numerous published papers and textbook chapters in endocrine surgery. He trained in breast and endocrine surgery under the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Fellowship training programme and obtained his Master of Surgery and Medical Degrees from the National University of Malaysia (UKM). He chairs multiple medical professional councils and national-level technical committees and is actively involved as a policymaker in global organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). He is also a Councillor-at-Large (2017-2021) in the Executive Board of the International Society of Surgery (ISS) and chairs the Global Surgery Committee of ISS. In March 2020, he was elected as the Chairman of the Asian Association of Endocrine Surgeons. Dr Noor Hisham has been conferred numerous local and international awards including the prestigious Fellowship Ad Hominem of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 2018 for his contributions toward healthcare. In 2019, he was given the honour to deliver the distinguished Martin Allgöwer Lecture at the 48th World Congress of Surgery in Krakow, Poland. His special interest lies in enhancing universal healthcare coverage to marginalised communities and bringing personalised healthcare back to the community and home through digital technology and creative innovation

    Professeur Mamadou Samba, Director General, Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene Côte d'Ivoire

    Professeur Mamadou SAMBA is the Director General since March 2019. Before this position, he had several administrative functions. Currently, he is the General Coordinator of Covid-19 pandemic response in Cote d’Ivoire. he had been the Director of Planning, Evaluation and Health Information for the Ministry of Health for a decade where he had established several strategic documents including the National Health Development Plans and the health financing strategic plan. Prof. SAMBA had also led the drafting of the 2010 and 2015 reports on the MDGs in Health. He was the last Director of Community Health in Côte d’Ivoire. Prof. SAMBA is an Associate Lecturer in Public Health and Health Economics and a researcher at Houphouet–Boigny University in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Professor Mamadou SAMBA is also a consultant and international expert in primary health care and health systems strengthening. Prof. Mamadou SAMBA is Officer and Commander in the order of Public Health and Officer in Order of Merit of Public Service.

    Dr Suraya Dalil, Director, Special Programs on Primary Health Care

    Dr. Suraya Dalil was born in Kabul in February 1970. She graduated from Zarghona High School of Kabul in 1985 and studied medicine at Kabul Medical University from 1986 to 1991, graduating with highest honors and top in her classIn 2004, Dr. Dalil was awarded a Presidential Scholarship from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

    She returned to Afghanistan with a Master’s Degree in Health Care Management in 2005. Her experiences include working with the Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) where she participated in provision of health care to thousands of Tajik refugees who had fled fighting in Tajikistan and sought refuge in northern Afghanistan. - winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan from 1992 to 1993 Her next assignment was with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 1993-94 where she focused on medical assistance to Afghan refugees returning from Pakistan and Iran.

    In the mid-2007 she was assigned as the Chief of Health and Nutrition Program of UNICEF Somalia taking her experiences and commitment to east Africa. She worked for Somalia until December 2009 where she led a large scale nutrition, immunization and communicable disease control program. In January 2010 she was assigned by the President of Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as the Acting Minister of Public Health and from March 2012 to December 2014 she was the Minister of Public Health. Her mother tongue is Uzbeki, she can speak Dari, Pashtu and English. She is mother of three children.

    Dr. Ibtihal Fadhil, Founder and Chairperson, Eastern Mediterranean NCD Alliance

    Dr Fadhil is the founder and chairperson of the Eastern Mediterranean NCD Alliance, elected member of the Board of Directors, global NCD Alliance, WHO consultant and commissioner on the Lancet Commission Women and Cancer. A medical doctor with an MSc and PhD in public health, she has worked as WHO Regional Adviser on NCDs until retirement early 2017. Dr. Fadhil has worked with most of the regional CSOs for more than 8 years and developed the core regional network of CSOs working against non-communicable diseases, established the regional platform to facilitate engagement of People living with NCDs in the policy process through training and advocacy. Dr. Fadhil has worked jointly with the World Health Organization and other regional partners to develop the civil society organization capacity-building program. This program has been instrumental in uniting CSOs at national and regional levels.

    Freddy Nkosi, Country Director, Democratic Republic of Congo

     Freddy Nkosi is the Country Director for VillageReach in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He plays a critical role in managing the relationship between VillageReach, the government of DRC, non-governmental agencies (NGOs) and donor partners. He also provides leadership and oversight for all program strategies and implementations in the country. One of the key programs that Freddy oversees in DRC is the partnership with national and provincial government officials to implement the Next Generation Supply Chain Initiative (in French, it is known as Nouvelle Génération des Chaînes d’Approvisionnement, or NGCA) to create a more efficient, effective supply chain. The initiative was launched in March 2017 with an initial focus in Equateur Province – a logistically challenging region in northwestern DRC. Today, NGCA reaches 56 districts across five provinces across the country. NGCA involves direct distribution of vaccines (from the provincial warehouse to the health facility); revision of distribution frequency; data collection during the distribution; supportive supervision and on-site training; and empowering supply chain champions.

    Freddy has over 15 years of working in the development sector in areas such as health, governance, economic development, education and human rights.  In a previous role with African Monitor, Freddy worked in South Africa and coordinated large-scale programs in over 10 African countries.  He is a nurse and has a Master of Business Administration (MBA)

    Dr. Asaf Bitton, Executive Director, Ariadne Labs

    A practicing primary care physician, public health researcher, and health systems innovation leader, Ariadne Labs Executive Director Asaf Bitton has led efforts globally and nationally to transform primary health care delivery systems and create high quality, integrated care models. Bitton’s clinical area of expertise and innovation is in the area of team-based primary care for patients with complex psychosocial and clinical needs. The opportunity to serve these patients by creating a new, team-based primary care practice built from the ground up in 2010 has deeply informed his work on a local, national, and global level. 

    Formerly the director of the Ariadne Labs Primary Health Care Program, Bitton is a leader of the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative, launched in 2015 at the United Nations. This joint effort, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, and Ariadne Labs aims to measure primary care country performance in a holistic way within low- and middle-income countries to tailor improvement and financing initiatives. Bitton serves on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He supervises residents from the Brigham and Women’s internal medicine primary care program, and mentors general medicine fellows on their research. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health and society from Brown University, an M.D. from the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, and a master’s degree in public health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. A resident of Brookline, MA, Bitton is married with two daughters.

    Beth Tritter, Executive Director, Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI)

    Beth Tritter is the Executive Director of PHCPI. Previously, Ms. Tritter was the Vice President for the Department of Policy and Evaluation at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), where she directed MCC’s policy development, economic analysis, program evaluation and learning, and Threshold Program. She was also a Managing Director at the Glover Park Group and a legislative director for New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey. Ms. Tritter holds a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.