Panelist & Biographics

Dr. Denis Foretia

Denis ForetiaDr. Denis Foretia is Co-Chair of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation and Executive Chairman of the Nkafu Policy Institute, a leading Cameroonian think tank. Along with co-chair Lenora Ebule, he shapes and approves strategy, advocates for the foundation, and helps set the overall direction. He is also the Chairman of Merckshire LLC, an international holding company with operations in the US and Cameroon. A surgeon by training, Foretia has always been involved in philanthropic activities and issues related to international development. He is currently the President of the Association of Cameroonian Physicians in the Americas (ACPA). He is also the Co-Founder and pioneer president of the Cameroon Professional Society (CPS) – the premier institution for Cameroonian professionals in the US focused on advancing economic opportunity and leadership development among Cameroonians.

Prof. Robert Nantchouang

Prof. Robert NantchouangProf. Robert Nantchouang carries with him a vast, rich and diversified academic and international career, which has led him from higher education (University professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Management of the Catholic University of Central Africa) to capacity development projects management, and knowledge management, within the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the African Union’s Specialized Agency for capacity building, where he served for more than a decade, prior to holding the position of Executive Director of the African Culture Fund (ACF

Dr. Ronald Gobina

Dr. Ronald GobinaDr Ronald Gobina is the Director of the Health Policy and Research Program. He is a Nephrologist, working with the Regional Hospital in Buea. He is Director of the Health Policy and Research Program at the Nkafu Policy Institute and the Director of the COVID-19 taskforce for the DLF foundation. He is member of the Cameroon Society of Nephrology (CASONEPH), the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the Initiative to Strengthen Health Research Capacity in Africa (ISHReCA).

He is passionate about sharing knowledge and skills through every means possible. He believes that being a specialist is not about being superior but about being a better coach to advance expertise in any given sphere. As a general practitioner, he initiative several teaching and coaching opportunities including the hospital-based teaching program at the Buea Regional Hospital for practicing nurses, doctors and trainees, and the Renal Summit for the South West Region of Cameroon which saw its maiden edition bring together experts from around the world to capacitate health personnel in the region on renal diseases. A regular choice for health education on radio platforms and with several community events for sensitization and screening organized, his determination continues to be seen in communities.

Dr. Odette Kibu

KIbu-Odette-DzemoDr. Odette Kibu is a Senior Health Policy Analyst | Coordinator of the Nkafu Policy Institute and PhD holder in Public Health at the University of Buea. She hold a Masters Degree in Chemical Pathology and a Bachelors Degree (Hons) in Biochemistry also from the University of Buea. Prior to joining the Foundation Ms. Kibu was a Research Assistant in Public Health at the University of Buea under the supervision of Prof. Dickson Shey Nsagha. She also previously worked at the Clinton Health Access Initiative.

Dr. Ngo Valery Ngo

Dr Ngo Valery NgoDr. Ngo Valery Ngo is a Medical Doctor and a Senior Health Researcher at Nkafu Policy Institute, a think tank at the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Before his appointment, he was a volunteer research assistant under Professor Bright Nwaru at the Krefting Research Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, during which he conducted various researches in global health and contributed to various systematic reviews to synthesize existing evidence on major global health issues. Between 2012 and 2018, Dr. Ngo worked as a clinician at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria, and rose to the position of senior medical officer and chief resident in charge of training. At FMC Keffi, he worked in different clinical departments, including surgery, medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, clinical hematology, accident, and emergency. He also coordinated the HIV/AIDS program at Innovative Biotechnology in Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria.

Dr Fuein Vera Kum

Dr. Fuein Vera KumDr Fuein Vera Kum is a Research Fellow at the Nkafu Policy Institute. She joined the institute as Economic Policy Analyst in 2017 with a focus on health economics and development policy. She holds a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Benin, Nigeria. She previously worked as a lecturer in economics at several higher institutions of learning in Cameroon.

Dr. Asahngwa Constantine

Dr. Constantine AsahngwaDr. Asahngwa Constantine holds a PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of Yaounde 1, Yaounde, Cameroon. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Medical Anthropology and Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology both from the University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon. He has served as Director for the Cameroon Center for Evidence Based Health Care for 10 years as an evidence synthesis, translation and utilization expert. He has also served as a Senior Adjunct Lecturer at the School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide, South Australia for 10 years, His research areas are in health policy, health systems, infectious diseases and reproductive health.

Mr. Desmond T. Jumbam

Desmond T JumbamMr. Desmond T. Jumbam is the Director of Health Policy and Advocacy at Operation Smile, an international non-governmental organization that aims to improve access and quality of surgical services in low- and middle-income countries. In this capacity he leads and advises on research and advocacy initiatives that aim to increase the prioritization and funding for surgical care in government policies in these countries. Prior to joining Operation Smile, Desmond was a health policy analyst at the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change at Harvard Medical School, conducting global surgery research and advising Ministries of Health on the development of National Surgical Obstetrics and Anaesthesia Plans. His research interests include global surgery, health policy and advocacy, health systems strengthening and decolonizing global health.

Desmond is a 2022 New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute and the president and co-founder of the Jumbam Family Foundation, based in Cameroon. The Jumbam Family Foundation aims to provide psychosocial and reintegration support to victims of the on-going Anglophone war in Cameroon.

Desmond earned his Master of Science in Global Health degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor of Arts degree in biological sciences from the Taylor University. In his spare time, Desmond enjoys co-hosting a podcast called “Global Health Unfiltered!”, reading, writing and spending time with friends and family.

Dr. Mwenya Kasonde

Dr. Mwenya KasondeDr. Mwenya Kasonde: Global Health Consultant and Thought Leader

Dr. Sillah Omar

Dr. Sillah Omar Dr. Sillah Omar: Senior Clinical Trials Monitor for the Medical Research Council Unit, Gambia

Joseph Maabo Tankwa

Joseph Maabo Tankwa Joseph Maabo Tankwa

JOSEPH MAABO TANKWA is a Health Economist that has worked with many local and international organizations on high-level projects related to education and health. Before switching to health economics, he was a lecturer and school administrator for more than 15 years in both sub-systems of education (English and French). His penetrating mind allows me not only to grasp the basics of economic theory applied to health, but also to formulate highly original and persuasive interpretative arguments. He has demonstrated superb leadership and organizational skills in leading group projects and has a mastery of MS Excel based tool development and data visualization. With a sound knowledge of Strategic Health Purchasing arrangements, He is currently co-writing articles, blogs and policy briefs on the topic. He was privileged to participate in the Crowdsourcing Responses for FAQs in relation to COVID-19 organized by the Strategic Purchasing Africa Resource Center (SPARC) amongst others. When he is not glued to my computer, he spends some time trying very hard not to be the worse dancer on earth as declared by he friends.

Day 1:

Breakout Session 2 Health care financing towards greater health equity in Africa

Prof. Nia Zalamea, MD

Prof. Nia Zalamea, MD Prof. Nia Zalamea, MD

Nia Zalamea, MD is a board-certified general surgeon at Regional One Health. She earned her medical degree at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City and completed an internship and residency in general surgery at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California.

Dr. Zalamea has been in practice since 2009 and has earned numerous honors for the level of care she provides patients. She is a recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award and has been nominated for the Memphis Business Journal Health Care Heroes Award and the Pfizer/American College of Surgeons Surgical Humanitarian Award.

She is a member of the American College of Surgeons, Association of Academic Surgeons, and Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons.She serves as director of the UTHSC Global Surgery Institute, which provides opportunities for global surgical experience in countries including Tanzania, Cameroon, Philippines, Ecuador, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Russia and Honduras. She is also cofounder of the Center for Multicultural and Global Health at UTHSC, which promotes multicultural health delivery, addresses global health challenges, and nurtures the next generation of global health leaders.

Day 2:

Breakout Session 2: Challenges in Optimizing Surgical care in Africa: Way forward

Dr. Zakariaou NJOUMEMI

Dr Zakariaou NJOUMEMI Dr. Zakariaou NJOUMEMI

Dr Zakariaou NJOUMEMI is a senior health economist specializing in health financing, public
finance management, universal health coverage, monitoring and evaluation of public health programme. He holds a PhD in Public Health, specialization ‘Health Economics’, from the School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is senior lecturer/researcher in public health evaluation, health economics, health policy and health systems, health care financing and management at the Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I. He is also the Team Leader at Health Economics & Policy Research and Evaluation for Development Results Group (HEREG), Yaoundé, Cameroon.