U.S. Embassy Highlights the Public Health Heroes on the Embassy Team

The U.S. commitment to improved health in Rwanda is more than just funding, medicines, and equipment. The U.S. Embassy in Kigali recently highlighted just some of the amazing U.S. doctors and health experts we have brought to Rwanda, as well as the Rwandan experts working on our Embassy team. Please join us in celebrating these everyday heroes for their work to improve the lives of the people of Rwanda!

Dr. Thierry Roels, MD, MSc, is the U.S. CDC Country Director in Rwanda. Thierry, just one of the many heroes in public health hard at work at U.S. Embassy Kigali, has demonstrated medical and public health leadership around the world — monitoring the 1995 Ebola outbreak in DRC, overseeing HIV research in Cote d’Ivoire, implementing PEPFAR in Botswana, managing a cholera outbreak response in Haiti, and leading regional HIV/AIDS programs in Thailand and Laos. Thierry has also worked for the World Health Organization and with Doctors without Borders. Here in Rwanda, he manages a team of 40 experts with an annual operating budget of more than $35 million providing comprehensive support to the country’s disease control efforts.

Robin Martz, MPH, MSW, is the director of the USAID Rwanda Health Office. Robin earned Master’s degrees in Public Health and Social Work from the University of Michigan and brings an incredible range of public health experience from all around the world. Robin has worked on maternal and child health in Laos, polio in Afghanistan, HIV in Haiti, and emerging pandemic threats in Thailand and Cambodia. Robin was a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger and has advised the World Bank, United Nations Population Fund, and Save the Children. In Rwanda, she manages a team of 22 experts with an annual budget of nearly $80 million providing comprehensive support to the country’s public health initiatives.

Dr. Jared Omolo, MBChB, MSc, is a senior epidemiologist with U.S. CDC Rwanda. Jared’s interest in epidemiology was cemented when he found himself — as the medical director of a rural sub-district in Eastern Kenya — leading the response to one of the most severe outbreaks of aflatoxin poisoning in modern history. In Rwanda, Jared provides expert epidemiological advice to support HIV programs and steers the use of applied epidemiological methods to monitor and mitigate challenges across the HIV continuum of care. Jared also provides technical advice and mentors trainees of the Rwanda Field Epidemiology Training Program, a capacity-building initiative that strives to strengthen Rwanda’s capacities for disease surveillance, public health emergency response, and use of data for making public health decisions.

Dr. Maria Kabanyana, MBChB, MPH, is USAID Rwanda’s Health System and Service Delivery Team Lead, managing a portfolio that invests more than $54 million annually in improved health outcomes in Rwanda. Maria supervises a team that manages investments in maternal, child, and newborn health; health systems strengthening; health commodities; and supply chain. Maria is a graduate of Makerere University in Uganda and the University of Pretoria’s School of Health Policy and Public Health. She has also worked with UNESCO, UNICEF, and USAID across East Africa.

Dr. Samuel Sewava Malamba, PhD, joined U.S. CDC Rwanda in 2013 and is currently the Senior Research and Evaluation Specialist. Samuel earned his PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of California and brings more than 20 years of experience in malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV research in sub-Saharan Africa. Samuel coordinates with the Ministry of Health and Rwanda Biomedical Center to design and conduct scientific investigations to help everyone better understand critical issues in the areas of HIV and TB among the most at-risk populations and to use data to inform HIV/TB program implementation.

Emah Ndengo, MSc, PMP, is a public health prevention specialist for HIV at U.S. CDC Rwanda. Emah brings more than 12 years experience on HIV/AIDS programs, including working in Kenya on integrated prevention, care, and support services. Her work in Rwanda focuses on providing technical and programmatic assistance and capacity building to the Rwanda Ministry of Health and other U.S. government-funded partners to implement key HIV/AIDS prevention program priorities through a combination of interventions that address biological, behavioral, and socioeconomic risk factors with targeted populations.