A tribute to Dr Mwele Ntuli Malecela

15 Feb 2022

It is with very great sadness that we write this brief tribute to Dr Mwele Ntuli Malecela following the news of her death at far too young an age. She made many very significant contributions to public health, first within Africa, but much more generally globally in the resource poor settings afflicted by the neglected tropical diseases.

In her role as Director of NTDs at WHO she crafted and led the development of the new WHO NTD road map to take us through the next decade to 2030. She started this process by revamping the advisory boards and WHO committees that provided advice on the control of NTDs to better reflect the experiences of those living and working in areas with endemic infections. In an action so typical of her attitude to the formulation of health policy, in the development of the new road map for the control of NTDs, she opened the consultation to all who wished to submit ideas and experiences. As a result, the roadmap better reflected the aims and needs of the communities suffering the burden of NTDs.

We remember her with much affection and admiration at the London Centre for NTD Research. Her early interest in the parasitic diseases was encouraged during a period spent at one of our member institutes (the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine) where she completed her MSc and PhD). We also remember her for inspiring the ambitions and passions of so many young researchers, such as when, on two occasions, she addressed our annual major conference as the plenary speaker.

We offer our very sincere condolences to her family and friends. Her wisdom and humanity will be so greatly missed.

Roy Anderson and Joanne Webster, London Centre for NTD Research