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Dr Leonardo Santos Simão and Professor Marcel Tanner appointed as EDCTP High Representatives

3 October 2016

Dr Leonardo Santos Simão, a former Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, has been appointed as the EDCTP High Representative South with special focus on Africa. Professor Marcel Tanner, former Director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, has been appointed as the EDCTP High Representative North with special focus on Europe.

The High Representatives will act as goodwill ambassadors for EDCTP in order to increase the visibility of the programme and promote partnerships with other EDCTP stakeholders in the fight against poverty-related and neglected diseases in Africa, Europe and globally.

“I warmly welcome Dr Simão and Professor Tanner who join EDCTP at a pivotal time when we are consolidating the programme as a flagship of the partnership between Europa and Africa. With their distinguished backgrounds they will contribute to equal representation at all levels and achieving the objectives of the programme.”

Dr Mark Palmer, Chairperson, EDCTP General Assembly

“I am convinced that these High Representatives will help EDCTP to increase its visibility and political standing which is needed to get extensive support from European and African countries, and make sure that EDCTP2 will deliver and provide new medical interventions to the people in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Dr Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, Deputy Director-General for Research Programmes, European Commission

“We are truly delighted to have two highly respected and experienced policy and research leaders with complementary track records and expertise join the EDCTP partnership as goodwill ambassadors. We look forward to EDCTP gaining greater momentum as we work together in the fight against poverty-related and neglected diseases.”

Dr Michael Makanga, EDCTP Executive Director

High Representative South

Dr Leonardo Santos Simão has been active in the realms of public health, development and diplomacy throughout his career. He succeeded Dr Pascal Mocumbi – former EDCTP High Representative from 2004-2014- as Minister of Health in 1988. From 1994 to 2005 he was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique. He is a public figure with a broad network in the African continent and holds mediation roles with the Southern African Development Community (SADC). He is a strong advocate for cross-border and international cooperation and driven by the goal of healthcare advancement and socio-economic development in Africa.

“I feel honoured to be associated to this unique initiative, which combines high technical capacity building and development in Africa and a long term commitment in fighting neglected and poverty related diseases in the Continent. I’m convinced the approach adopted by EDCTP will have a great impact in the health condition of the African over the years to come.”

Dr Leonardo Santos Simão, EDCTP HIGH Representative South

Dr Simão is a medical doctor by training. After his graduation from the Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique in 1980, he worked in rural areas of Mozambique as medical officer at district and provincial levels. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health (Community Health in Developing Countries) from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (United Kingdom). He also taught in the Faculty of Medicine of the Eduardo Mondlane University. Dr Simão was the Executive Director of the Joaquim Chissano Foundation. He is also the Chairman of the SADC Mediation Reference Group, and Chairman of the steering committee of the Business Environment Support Fund in Mozambique, a development initiative funded under Denmark’s development cooperation activities.

High Representative North

Professor Marcel Tanner has acquired throughout his career the knowledge and experience necessary for the role of EDCTP High Representative. His broad experience spans communicable diseases control and health systems research to public and global health policy and strategy including healthcare and diplomacy at national and international levels. He has strong connections with both the private sector (including large pharmaceutical companies), and many government agencies for development cooperation. Currently, he is President of the Swiss Academy of Sciences Co-chair of the Swiss Commission for Research Partnership with Developing Countries, Chair and member of the Board of Drugs for Neglected Diseases (DNDi), and a member of the Board of FIND, INDEPTH and of planning and strategy committees of a number of funding agencies (WHO, Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). He is also a member of the Advisory Group for Horizon 2020’s Societal Challenge 1 (on Health, Demographic Change and Well-being) which contributes to setting programme priorities for 2018-2020.

“Key in contributing to health development is the sharing and comparing across systems and cultures through partnership - a process of mutual learning for change.”

Prof. Marcel Tanner, EDCTP High Representative North

Prof. Tanner was Director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute from 1997 to 2015 and now President of the Swiss Academy of Sciences. He holds a PhD in medical biology from the University of Basel and a MPH from the University of London. He has published extensively in many fields of health research (>650 original papers) and has received global recognition for his expertise in the field of infectious diseases research and control. He was co-investigator and coordinator of the first African malaria vaccine trial in 1992 and participated as co-principal investigator in several major intervention trials on malaria and schistosomiasis. He was programme director of what is now the Ifakara Health Research & Development Centre in Tanzania from 1987-1997.