Trachoma Expert Committee

ITI’s Trachoma Expert Committee (TEC) is an independent body of internationally recognized experts in the fields of public health, ophthalmology, blindness prevention, and all aspects of the SAFE Strategy. TEC members provide invaluable advice to ITI on strategic, technical and operational issues. The TEC is a decision-making body that meets twice annually to review country applications for Zithromax®.

 

Trachoma Expert Committee Members:

Allen Foster (Chairman), OBE

Co-Director of the International Centre for Eye Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Allen Foster

Allen Foster was born and educated in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England.  After completing medical school at the University of Birmingham, he married Penny and together they went to Tanzania to work as general doctors with CBM at Mvumi Hospital. Allen helped develop a national eye care plan, and with support from Dr. Joseph Taylor and CBM, he established a clinical training program for doctors and ophthalmic assistants training over 200 people from all over Africa.After 10 years in Tanzania, he returned to the United Kingdom working for CBM, based at the Institute of Ophthalmology in London. He was appointed CBM’s International Medical Director in 1987, and visited eye projects supported by CBM in Asia, Africa and Latin America. This unique experience of an academic research and teaching base in London, with overseas exposure to eye care delivery on three continents, facilitated the development of training courses in Community Eye Health, both in the UK and in developing countries. Allen was also closely involved in the development of the VISION 2020 strategy and global initiative.

Allen moved to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1999 where he continues his work as Director of the International Centre for Eye Health.  He maintains an interest in research working on blinding eye diseases in children, ocular infections and cataract services.

In 2006, Allen was appointed president of CBM, the largest NGO involved in providing services and promoting the rights of people with disability.  Allen has numerous publications and several international awards, but is best known as a passionate advocate and teacher of VISION 2020.

 

Paul Courtright, DrPH

Co-director, Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology; Assistant Professor, Department of Health Care & Epidemiology/Ophthalmology, University of British Columbia; Associate Member, UBC Center for Health Services Policy Research

Paul Courtright

Dr. Paul Courtright is co-director of the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO) of Tumaini University in Moshi, Tanzania.  Dr. Courtright and his wife, Dr. Susan Lewallen, established the KCCO in Moshi in 2001.  The KCCO is the largest ophthalmic research and community ophthalmology training centre in Africa. 

Prior to this time, Dr. Courtright established and directed the British Columbia Centre for Epidemiologic & International Ophthalmology (1995-2001) at the University of British Columbia.  He is on faculty at the University of British Columbia with joint appointments in the Department of Ophthalmology and Department of Health Care & Epidemiology.  He has also lived and worked in Malawi (4 years), Ethiopia (1 year), Egypt (1 year), and Korea (4 years). His DrPH is from the University of California, Berkeley (1988) and he has an MPH from Johns Hopkins University (1984).  He also underwent the fellowship in preventive ophthalmology at the JHU Wilmer Eye Institute (1983-4).

The majority of Dr. Courtright’s published work (150 scientific articles) has been carried out in Africa and Asia.  He and his wife are recipients of the 2008 “International Blindness Prevention Award” of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  He serves on committees for the World Health Organization, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and other organizations and served as Executive Secretary of the International Society for Geographical & Epidemiological Ophthalmology from 1994-2008. His areas of interest are in trachoma, gender and blindness, health systems research, cataract, pediatric cataract, eye complications of leprosy, and other conditions common in developing countries.

 

Dr. Serge Resnikoff, MD, PhD

Senior Consultant, International Health & Development, DMI Associates

Prof. Resnikoff is an international expert in global public health, ophthalmology, and eye health. He is a visiting professor at the University of New South Wales and a faculty member at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and Lyon and Paris, France. He is also the President of International Health and Development and the President and Chair of Organisation pour la Prévention de la Cécité (OPC), an NGO active in prevention of blindness in francophone Africa.

From 2008 to 2010 he served as CEO of Thea, a European pharmaceutical group, active in 65 countries, specializing in the research, development, and commercialization of ophthalmology products. From 2004 to 2008, he coordinated various World Health Organization (WHO) programs aiming to prevent and manage noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular, respiratory, genetic, ear and eye diseases.

From 1999 until 2004, Prof. Resnikoff led the Program for the Prevention of Blindness and Deafness, which aims to make essential eye and ear care available to all. Since joining the WHO
in 1995, he has developed public health strategies and contributed to built global partnerships such as Vision 2020, involving governments, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and private sector groups.

Before joining WHO, Prof. Resnikoff worked for 14 years in developing countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, on assignments from the French government to strengthen local and national capacity in disease prevention and control. These assignments also included epidemiologic, clinical, and operational research, and international program planning, implementation, and evaluation. From 1989 to 1995, he was the director of the Institute of African Tropical Ophthalmology, a WHO Collaborating Center.

Prof. Resnikoff holds a PhD from Paris University, an MD from Bordeaux University, and postgraduate degrees in ophthalmology, tropical medicine, air and space medicine, public health, epidemiology, and biostatistics. He has published over 100 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, authored or co-authored several chapters in medical textbooks, and presented more than 200 invited lectures. He has also received numerous national and international awards for his contributions to research and program implementation. In addition, Prof Resnikoff has been involved in a number of NGOs such as the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness, the International Council of Ophthalmology, the African Eye Foundation, SightFirst and Organisation pour la Prévention de la Cécité.

 

Joseph M. Feczko, MD

Former Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer Inc

Joseph Feczko, M.D. was, until May 2009, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Pfizer Inc. and member of the Executive Leadership Team with global responsibilities for all aspects of the company’s medical, regulatory and safety activities. He is board certified (U.S.) in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. Following a time in private practice, he joined Pfizer in 1982 in New York.  He then worked for ten years in the United Kingdom for both Pfizer and Glaxo where his responsibilities included supervising clinical research, regulatory affairs, data management and safety reporting. He returned to Pfizer in New York in 1996 where he held positions of increasing responsibility in clinical research and regulatory affairs and safety culminating in the role of CMO.

He is currently a member of the board of directors of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Research!America and the International Longevity Center as well as the New York Academy of Medicine.

He is a member of the board of directors of the Accordia Global Health Foundation and the Technical Expert Committee for Trachoma of the Task Force for Global Health.

He is a member of the governing board of the Technology Strategy Board of the United Kingdom.

 

Sheila West, PhD

El-Maghraby Professor of Preventive Ophthalmology, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Director, Trachoma Research Program, Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology and the Center for Global Health, Johns Hopkins University

Sheila West

Sheila West received her Ph.D in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 1980. She accepted a position to work on Hepatitis B with the University of The Philippines consortium, publishing articles on the seroprevalence within rural communities. This initial project cemented a commitment to work on public health problems in disadvantaged communities. Dr. West joined the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, becoming a professor in 1999, and currently she is the El Maghraby Professor of Preventive Ophthalmology. She has published over 200 articles in the field of Public Health Ophthalmology and has received several awards for her research. Notably, she was a recipient of a Research to Prevent Blindness Senior Scientific Investigator award, which she has used for her research into preventing trachoma, the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide.  Dr. West is an internationally respected expert on trachoma, and has chaired the World Health Organization Global Alliance for Elimination of Blinding Trachoma by 2020.

Dr. West has devoted her career to public health ophthalmology. She has lead clinical trials in surgery for trachoma in Ethiopia, the effect of water and hygiene interventions in Niger, and antibiotic use for trachoma control in Tanzania. The Kongwa Trachoma Project under her direction has been operating for 20 years in Tanzania, and carried out numerous, significant research projects into subjects as diverse as diagnostics, immunology, genetics, epidemiology, and evaluation of control programs for trachoma. Currently the recipient of a $12 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for research into trachoma control, Dr. West is at the forefront of research and projects in public health ophthalmology and is the current Vice Chair for Research at Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

 

Simon Brooker, DPhil

Professor of Epidemiology and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Simon Brooker is an epidemiologist with strong interests in the epidemiology, geography and control of infectious diseases, including neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and malaria. He is a leading expert in the mapping and spatial epidemiology of NTDs, using GIS, remote sensing and spatial statistics. In order to create an open-access information resource on the geographical distribution of helminth infections, he established the Global Atlas of Helminth Infection. More recently, he has worked with ITI to develop the Global Atlas of Trachoma. Through his work, he has supported national governments and international agencies to implement NTD control efforts in numerous countries.

Brooker is currently supported by a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship and also is the principal investigator of a grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a range of data platforms and analytical tools for NTD control.

Brooker has a first degree in Human Sciences and a doctorate in Infectious Disease Epidemiology from the University of Oxford, and a Master's in Health Economics from City University, London. Before joining LSHTM in 2002, he held research appointments at the University of Oxford and Imperial College, London, and has lived and worked in Ghana (1995), Kenya (1999) and Uganda (2004). Most recently (2008-2013), he was based at Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Nairobi, Kenya, where he directed a programme of research on the epidemiology and control of NTDs and malaria.

 

Abdou Amza, MD

Coordinator, National Programme for Eye Health, Niger

Abdou Amza

Dr. Abdou Amza is a field ophthalmologist and the Coordinator of the National Programme for Eye Health in Niger. After his studies at the Abdou Moumouni University of Niamey, he served as Chief Medical Officer at the Regional Hospital of Tahoua from 1984 to 1988, before completing residency in Ophthalmology at the Ophthalmology Institute of Tropical Africa (IOTA) in Bamako, Mali, and Leuven in Belgium. When he returned to Niger he worked as the Staff Chiefof the Ophthalmology Service of the National Hospital of Zinder, 900 km from the capital. In 1995 he was appointed Assistant Coordinator at the National Programme against blindness, and at the same time he was appointed Head of the Ophthalmology Service at Lamordé Hospital of Niamey and lecturer in the faculty of medicine of the university.

Since 2000 he has served as the National Coordinator for the Eye Health Program. He has overseen many surveys on blindness and trachoma in Niger and neighboring countries, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria and Togo. He received the gold medal award from the League Against Trachoma in 2008. He continues his activities as a hospital clinician, trainer for eye care human resources and researcher in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University of San Francisco in the United States.

 

Mwele Malecela, PhD, FTTA

Director General, National Institute for Medical Research, Tanzania

Dr. Malecela is Director General of the Tanzania National Institute for Medical Research, and the first woman to hold this position. She serves as Chief Research Scientist, and is also Director of the Tanzania Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program.

Mwele holds a BSc in Zoology from the University of Dar es Salaam and an MSc and PhD in Parasitology from the University of London (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine). Her area of specialization was filarial immunology, specifically on filarial immune evasion mechanisms. Dr Malecela is a Fellow of the Tanzania Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Malecela has worked at the National Institute for Medical Research for 26 years, where she started off as a junior scientist, mainly in the field of Lymphatic Filariasis immunoepidemiology. As Director General, her work has focused on research capacity strengthening and building of strong national research systems.

Dr. Malecela chairs the Medical Research Coordinating Committee (MRCC), which is the main body responsible for oversight of health research in the country. She serves on several committees and boards in-country related to health research, science and technology and is a strong advocate of increasing the number of women working in science-related fields.

In her role as Director of the National Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program she brings her long research experience to efforts to eliminate filariasis, and she has run the national program since its inception in 2000. She is well known for her role in advocacy campaigns that have brought to light the real extent of the problem in Tanzania.

Dr. Malecela is currently Vice President of the International Association of Public Health Institutes (IANPHI) a member of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee for Neglected Tropical Diseases and a member of the Medicine in Need Steering Committee on Innovation, Alliance and Translation Management (MITAM). Dr Malecela is also on the International Advisory Board of Grand Challenges Canada. Until June 2010 she was President of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis and Chair of the Representative contact group of the Alliance. Dr Malecela is also involved in a number of philanthropic organizations, is a member of several professional bodies, and has several publications in peer-reviewed journals. Dr Malecela has received a number of awards, including the Global NTD Champions award for her work in the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases.

 

M. Babar Qureshi, MD

Director of Neglected Tropical Diseases and Senior Medical Advisor, CBM

Muhammad Babar Qureshi was born in Pakistan but received all his schooling in Nigeria. He graduated as a medical doctor from Nigeria and did his residency in ophthalmology in Nigeria and Austria. He did his master's in community eye health in London. He then worked as an ophthalmologist in Nigeria for eight years and moved to Pakistan. In Pakistan he was the secretary of the National Committee for Prevention of Blindness, the secretary of the National Trachoma Task Force and the Director of Academics and Research for the Pakistan Institute of Community Ophthalmology for 10 years. During this period he supported the development of a master's in community eye health course, the allied ophthalmic personnel course, the district eye care program and the development of national eye care programs in 18 countries of the East Mediterranean region. He was actively involved with the National Trachoma Rapid Assessment in Pakistan and the National Blindness survey in Pakistan. He then moved on to be the Executive Director of Comprehensive Health and Education Forum International for seven years where he pioneered many inclusive health and education initiatives. He is currently the Director of Neglected Tropical Diseases and Senior Medical Advisor for CBM.

Dr. Qureshi is the Co-Chair for the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB-EMR), he is the board member of the International Council of Ophthalmology, he Chairs the Global ICO task force on refractive errors and is the Chair of the EMR Alliance for Trachoma Control.

He has supervised over 50 students in their master's dissertations in community eye health and has over 20 publications. He has received many awards nationally and internationally for meritorious services in the prevention of blindness, including the Prince Abdulaziz Bin Ahmed Al Saud Award and the Noval Christy award.