Our Team

Our team’s expertise and knowledge spans decades and sectors. From Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) programme managers, to research uptake experts and NTD consultants, COUNTDOWN is composed of a very diverse group of experienced and focused individuals. Here is a little bit of background about the people behind the COUNTDOWN research consortium.

 

Ghana

Mike Osei-Atweneboana is a Senior Research Scientist for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana. 

Nana-Kwadwo Biritwum is currently the NTD Programme Manager under the Public Health Division of the Ghana Health Service. Nana has worked on NTDs for over 12 years and has received an NTD Champion Award for his work.

Margaret Gyapong is Deputy Director (Research and Development) Ghana Health Service and Adjunct Professor International Health Program Georgetown University. In the last 22 years, she has contributed to setting up of the Lymphatic Filariasis Control programme in Ghana, building research capacity for district and regional health management teams, started and continues to maintain a Health and Demographic Surveillance System in the Dodowa Health Research Centre.

Adriana Opong is a health promoter and has coordinated sectoral, national and West African regional health research projects over the last four years, such as Institute of Infectious Diseases of Poverty (IIDP) a consortium of Anglophone and Francophone West African countries and Sustainable Sanitation Ghana Project (SUSA Ghana Project) with nearly seven years’ practical experience in the health research environment.

Solomon A. Narh-Bana is the Head of the Information Systems and Data Processing Unit at the Dodowa Health Research Centre in Ghana. He was trained as a Population-Based Field Epidemiologist and currently works as a data manager.

Sabina Asiamah is an Assistant Chief Technical Officer with the Ghana Health Service and has public health as her background. She has worked with the Dangme West District in Ghana (now Shai Osudoku District) as the district Disease Control Officer for 17 years. Presently she works with the Dodowa Health Research Centre as a Research Officer and a member of the centre’s communication team.

Sheila Addei is a Principal Research Officer at the Dodowa Health Research Center (DHRC). She has a background in social sciences is currently the coordinator of the Qualitative Research Unit of the DHRC. She has led the center’s qualitative team in the last ten years to design and conduct qualitative research for several studies undertaken by the DHRC. In the last four years she has also coordinated studies on social determinants of health and maternal and child health.

 

Cameroon

Louis-Albert Tchuem-Tchuenté is the coordinator of Cameroon’s National Programme for the Control of Schistosomiasis and Intestinal Helminthiasis, and the Director of the Centre for Schistosomiasis and Parasitology.  

Samuel Wanji is the Head of Department for Microbiology and Parasitology at the University of Buea, Cameroon. Samuel is also Executive Director of the Research Foundation in Tropical Diseases and Environment, Buea. 

Sharon Kien Ngang holds a Masters in Public Health from Nottingham Trent University and has a background in biomedical sciences.  She recently moved back to Cameroon where she was involved in a malaria control study with Malaria Consortium-Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria. She is currently the Research Communication and Uptake Officer for COUNTDOWN Cameroon. 

 

Liberia

Anthony Bettee is Head of Onchocerciasis within the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and has extensive experience in NTD programmes and outreach in challenging contexts. He is part of the DFID funded NTD control programme, Integrated Control of Schistosomiasis in Africa (ICHOSA).

Karsor Kollie is the Programme Director for NTDs and Non-Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Liberia. Karsor has extensive experience in strategic planning of preventive chemotherapy programmes, coordinating, monitoring and evaluating systems across a range of diseases and sustaining partnerships between multi-sector organisations. 

 

Pamoja Communications

Kate Hawkins is Director of Pamoja Communications. She has extensive experience in conducting research uptake activities with multi-country research teams working on health, gender and sexuality. 

 

FHI 360

Theresa Hoke is the Director of Health Services Research at FHI 360. Collaborating with partners in resource-poor settings, she conducts implementation research to maximize the effectiveness of public health interventions, with expertise in reproductive health and HIV/AIDS services.

 

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Emily Adams is part of Centre for Applied Health Research (CAHRD) at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and is a joint appointment with the University of Warwick, Medical School. She is Communications Secretary for the British Society for Parasitology.

Imelda Bates is a Clinical Tropical Haematologist based at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine where she heads up the Department of International Public Health. For the last 25 years she has been involved in capacity development for research and education through collaborative partnerships. More recently Imelda has established an expanding and vibrant Capacity Research Unit within which is at the forefront of research into how to design, measure and evaluate programmes to strengthen research capacity and laboratory systems in low and middle income countries. Since 2012 Imelda has been a Member of the WHO Neglected Tropical Diseases Capacity Strengthening Working Group.

Susie Crossman has assisted and coordinated the multi-national AWOL Drug Discovery and Development Projects since 2007, whose research aims are to create products compatible with mass drug administration (MDA) programmes for human filariasis and to provide an alternative treatment in the event of drug-resistance to current treatments.

Laura Dean has worked with the Capacity Research Unit within the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine on evaluations of research capacity strengthening initiatives in low and middle income countries. Previously, she has worked on the management of community development projects worldwide aimed at improving infrastructure, education and health.  Laura completed her MSc in International Public Health at LSTM, where she undertook research exploring the sexual and reproductive health rights of disabled women in India.

Paul Garner has been instrumental in bringing research synthesis to tropical diseases, through the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group. 

Julie Irving has worked at LSTM and its consultancy arm Liverpool Associates in Tropical Health (LATH) delivering project management, capacity development, research and business management and operational planning. She recently managed LSTM’s 2014 submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) the current system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education.

Eleanor MacPherson holds a Masters in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University. She was based in Southern Africa for five years (South Africa and Malawi) and has previously worked in Central America and India. She completed her PhD in 2014 with the Department of International Public Health at LSTM. Her doctoral research investigated HIV transmission and transactional sex in fishing communities in Southern Malawi.

David Molyneux Over the past 20 years David Molyneux has chaired various NTD committees for the World Health Organisation (WHO). Currently, David is Chair of the Working Group on Capacity Strengthening (WG-CS) for NTDs for the WHO, and he is a member of the WHO Expert Panel on Parasitic Diseases, the WHO International Commission for the Certification of the Dracuncialiasis Eradication and the Carter Center International Disease Eradication Task Force. 

Louis Niessen is a public health registrar and has a doctorate in health economics and life table modelling. He is LSTM’s Chair in Health Economics and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore. His research is on effectiveness, efficiency & equity impact of health interventions from community to hospital level. This is to provide economic evidence for social and health policy making in international health and health technology assessment. His research addresses health problems through real-life cluster-trials, mathematical models, and systematic economic reviews.

Tom Yih is the Programme Coordinator for COUNTDOWN. Tom began his career working for the British Foreign and Commonwealth before moving to a large accountancy firm in the City of London. He joined LSTM in 2016 after a period working with Merseyside Police.

Lisa Reimer is a lecturer at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.  She is currently conducting experimental work to determine vector competence to malaria and filariasis and the impact of vector control (and/or mass drug administration) on parasite uptake, development and transmission.

Louise Hamill is working on Macrofilaricidal control in Cameroon.

Lucas Cunningham has experience working with both microscopy and molecular based diagnostic techniques. His background covers soil transmitted helminths, schistosomiasis and African trypanosomiasis and is working as a research assistant for CouNTDown in Ghana.

Rachel Isba is a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. She works on evidence synthesis within the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group and also works within education.

Suzy Campbell is working on schistosomiasis in Ghana and Cameroon. Her PhD combined field epidemiology and quantitative analysis of baseline data from a randomised controlled trial integrating water, sanitation and hygiene with chemotherapy for soil-transmitted helminth control in Timor-Leste. Prior to her PhD she worked on infectious disease policies in federal and state governments of Australia for over a decade.

Corrado Minetti is a parasitologist with a background in epidemiology and molecular epidemiology and is working on lymphatic filariasis transmission and vector control in Ghana.

Russell Stothard is well-known within the international NTD community. Russell brings his expertise as a leading field epidemiologist and parasitologist, and leader of large and complex programmes, to the COUNTDOWN consortium.

Mark Taylor is the Director of the AWOL Consortium, which is funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and aims to develop new drugs against onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. Mark is also Executive Committee Chair for the Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) Elimination Programme, for the Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases (CNTD) and the Department for International Development (DFID). 

Sally Theobald is a professor with a a disciplinary background of geography and development studies and a PhD in Gender, Health and Development. She has wide ranging experience of designing and implementing gender sensitive qualitative research projects on HIV, TB, SRH and health systems in Africa and Asia.

Rachael Thomson is the COUNTDOWN Programme Manager and the Research Manager for The Collaboration in Research in Equity and Systems for TB and HIV/ AIDS (CRESTHA) at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Areas of expertise include health policy, international public health including AIDS, TB and Malaria and health system strengthening.

Joe Turner is a Senior Lecturer in Parasitology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Joe’s team are innovating research at the pre-clinical and clinical level for the development and implementation of novel cures for filarial NTDs as well as anti-morbidity interventions for lymphatic Filariasis.