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Monday, 1st December 2014
APCA board

The APCA Board of Directors is made up of a diverse group of palliative care experts from different countries across the region.


Dr. Jonah Wefuan has been practicing medicine for 34 years now with 21 of these years as a Specialist in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology. He worked 6 years as Medical Officer and Director of HIV/AIDS Treatment Centres in Bertoua and Bamenda, Cameroon and member of the HIV/AIDS Therapeutic Committees over the same period of time. He was the Director of the 400 bed capacity North West Regional Hospital in Bamenda, Cameroon, from 2003 to 2009 when he retired from public service, and was also the chair the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Board for over 20 years. This Board introduced palliative care in Cameroon in 2005. During this time he pioneered the setting up of a palliative care unit in a government hospital setting in Cameroon and has worked hard to see the creation of the young but promising Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Cameroon of which he is the first Chair.He has continued to integrate palliative care in his practice as a physician where as an internist he emphasizes on and does holistic care.

Throughout his professional life, Dr. Wefuan’s work has entailed medical planning, budgeting, execution of budget, monitoring and evaluation and reporting. He is bilingual, has studied in the Anglophone system and has worked in a Francophone context for 15 years.  He is the Permanent Representative of the Cameroon National Medical Association to the Commonwealth Medical Association, and has participated in two of the CMA Triennial Conferences in Chennai, India in 2007 and Malta in 2010, where he presented reports on behalf of the Cameroon National Medical Association.

Currently, Dr. Wefuan is a Consultant Physician and has embarked on a private medical practice in Greenfield Dynamic Medical Centre located in his premises in Bamenda as well as part-time medical practice in the St. Mary Soledad Catholic Hospital Bamenda, Cameroon.

In 2007 the Government of Cameroon recognized his meritorious services to the state in the domain of health and awarded him with the Knight of the Cameroon Order of Valor.

Dr. Jonah Wefuan joined the Board of Directors of the African Palliative Care Association in 2007. In 2010 he was elected as Honorary Treasurer, and in August 2012 became the Chairman of the APCA Board, a post he currently still holds.

Elly T Katabira, MD, FRCP, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda.

Dr. Katabira received his medical degree at Makerere and went on to specialize in Neurology in England.  However, he has been working in the field of HIV as a clinician, an educator and a researcher since 1985.  He started the first AIDS clinic in Africa in 1987 and has worked with a number of organizations including WHO, UNAIDS, etc.  He also co-founded The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) with others in Uganda in 1987.  He joined the International AIDS Society (IAS) in 1990 and in 2000 became the regional representative at the governing council.  From July 2010 to July 2012 he was the President of IAS and the International Chair of the IAS Pathogenesis, treatment and Prevention conference in Rome – July 2011 and the International AIDS conference in Washington DC in July 2012.  He was also involved in the establishment of Hospice Uganda and played a major part in introducing palliative care training at the College of Health Sciences in the 90s.

His research interests are in clinical trials, operational research and ART implementation studies, including HIV related neurological manifestations and interventions.  He has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals and presented over 200 abstracts at international conferences.

Dr. Katabira joined the APCA Board in September 2010, and is currently the Honorary Secretary.

Ms. Meredith D. Lwanga

Ms. Meredith Lwanga joined the Board of APCA in 2011 while working with United Nations Joint Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) as the Interagency Coordinator & Human Rights Advisor. In this regard she worked to promote awareness of human rights, ethical and legal issues in palliative care and development of policies and laws to enable implementation of Palliative care. Meredith is passionate about the advancement of human rights at all levels particularly in regard to health rights with over 15 years of work experience in the advancement, advocacy, policy formulation, legislation development and practical implementation of human rights.

Meredith is currently working with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) as a Human Rights Officer and has in the past worked with various organisations including the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) to mention but a few and undertaken several consultancy assignments. She Holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda and a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Dip. L.P) from the Law Development Centre, Kampala, Uganda.

Ms. Meredith Lwanga is currently the Honorary Treasurer of the APCA Board of Directors.

Joe O’Neill is a board certified internist with extensive clinical, leadership and management skills.

He is currently a Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland at Baltimore and is Director Global Health Initiatives in the offices of the President of the University and Dean of the School of Medicine.  He is a founding member of the board of the Maryland Global Initiatives Corporation, a non-profit subsidiary of the University of Maryland furthering University interests around the globe.  

He was the only physician on the White House Domestic Policy Council during the first term of the George W. Bush administration and was intimately involved in all health related issues that reached that level of policy review. He was credited by the President as having been the ”architect” of his Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – the largest global health initiative in history (now $48 billion).  Dr. O’Neill designed the plan, secured White House support for it, led the public and Congressional negotiations needed to secure its passage, conceived its implementation strategy, and executed its initial operations.  He provided the leadership necessary to coordinate efforts of numerous Federal and private agencies and was instrumental in securing FDA review, for the first time, of generic pharmaceuticals used outside of the United States- thereby dampening efforts to release poor quality knock off medications to the developing world market.

He has held fulfilled senior management and policy roles in the Clinton and Bush administrations including the $31 billion Health and Human Services HIV/AIDS portfolio (overseeing NIH, FDA and other relevant agencies); the Ryan White CARE Act programs; the National Organ Transplant Program and Bone Marrow Registry; the National Tele-Medicine initiative for the Department of Health and Human Services and others.

Dr. O’Neill has been CEO of a publically traded biotechnology corporation and has worked closely with and advised venture and other funders on a variety of early stage endeavors.  As CEO he led a reorganization, rebranding and strategic repurposing of the company, shifting from primarily an HIV vaccine agenda to one that focused on autoimmune diseases.  Under his leadership the corporation designed and instigated two phase II trials and three pre-clinical investigations.  As a consultant to the vice-president for economic development at the University of Illinois he led the strategic planning for a drug discovery center, mobilizing university, public and private funding.

Dr. O’Neill holds degrees in Business Administration, Public Health, Health Sciences, and Medicine from the Universities of California at Berkeley and San Francisco.  He completed residency and served as chief resident for the department of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle where he was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society.  He serves on boards of several NGOs including the The Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation, and the Diana, Princess of Wales Fund in the U.K.  He has appeared on ABC Nightline, PBS’s News Hour and other venues.

Dr. Joe O’Neill acted as an advisor to the Board of Directors of the African Palliative Care Association, until September 2010 when he became a Board Member.

Mr. Malik Jaffer

Malik Jaffer was born as a fifth generation Kenyan in Nairobi to parents of East Indian decent and migrated to California in 1969. Malik has over 25 years of civil society, government, and private sector experience in senior management, strategic planning, systems strengthening, program management, and building alliances with exposure in ~50 countries.

Based in Washington, DC, Malik joined IntraHealth International in March 2013 as the Deputy Director for Health Systems Strengthening and Human Resources for Health under the CapacityPlus project: USAID’s global flagship award focusing on Human Resources for Health.

From 2006-2013, Malik served as the Senior Technical Advisor for USAID/Southern Africa. In his capacity, Mr. Jaffer provided technical leadership within the US Government team on Palliative Care, Human Capacity Development and Systems Strengthening.

Prior to working in South Africa, Malik held senior technical and management positions in Africa and Asia working for the American Red Cross, Project HOPE, the Aga Khan Foundation-Tanzania, and Bank of America. He also served honorably in the US Army Reserve as an orthopedic technician, and was engaged in the family printing business. Since 2010, Malik has been internationally certified and recognized as a Reiki Master.

Mr. Jaffer completed his MPH from Boston University with Certificates in Delivering and Financing Health Care in Developing Countries. He also completed Executive Short Courses at the Harvard School of Public Health and his BSc from San Diego State University.

Malik is co-author of the 2011 book Healing with Happiness that discusses the impact of stress and depression on health care workers and describes the imperative for increased happiness and well-being.

Through his professional work, writing, painting and photography, Malik believes community empowerment/engagement lies at the foundation for true growth in developing countries.

Mr. Malik Jaffer has been serving as an Advisor to the Board of Directors of the African Palliative Care Association, since October 2010. Additional details about his work can be found at www.malikjaffer.com .

Mrs. Lois Barbara Chingandu, Executive Director Southern Africa Aids Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), Harare, Zimbabwe   

Mrs. Lois Chingandu is a Zimbabwean with over twenty years of experience in leadership and management of health, family planning, Gender and whole range of HIV/AIDS programs (prevention, care, support and advocacy) in international institutions, regional, government, NGOs and international donors.  Her key skills include the capacity to conceptualize, design, implement and M&E of HIV and gender programs. She has been involved in advocating for women’s rights at local, regional and the global level which has led to policy changes. She has also been involved in HIV related work in various capacities; as a Director, a Civil Society specialist, an Organisational Development specialist, a Sexual Reproductive Health and Family Planning manager, and a gender activist.

Lois has been the Executive Director of SAfAIDS Since 2003. SAfAIDS is a regional non-profit organization based in Harare, Zimbabwe, with country offices in South Africa, Zambia and Swaziland. It is re-known regionally for its capacity to produce innovative information materials and packages to reach a variety of populations and content, promote dialogue and mobilize social action within communities of practice and build the capacity of national partners to scale-up cutting-edge and evidence-based Gender, Human rights and HIV &AIDS programmes.

Lois is passionate about and is committed to supporting initiatives that support vulnerable and marginalized populations and empowerment of women access to HIV, health and prevention services.  As a civil society advocate in several international fora, she firmly advocates for the need to strengthen systems at regional and global levels to promote gender and enhance local culturally-relevant programs.

Lois has extensive experience on Boards, facilitating and presenting papers on Gender and HIV at International conferences, and currently sits on the ICASA executive board and is Co-chair of the Community Committee.

Mrs. Lois Chingandu joined the APCA Board in July 2011.  

Dr. Bernard Dornoo

Dr. Bernard Dornoo is a passionate medico-legal consultant working in the field of HIV for many years and championing the fight against stigma and discrimination relating to HIV and other diseases. With a vast experience in medical practice in both the public and private sector in Ghana he was touched with the plight of persons with terminal and debilitating diseases and level of care accorded them, if at all.

He worked with the WHO as a Professional Officer responsible for Quality Systems under the Treatment Acceleration Project (TAP) which heightened the need for putting persons with HIV on anti-retroviral treatment which led to the dramatic turn in Africa south of the Sahara seeing significant proportion of persons living with HIV being put on treatment.  Currently he works with the National AIDS/STI Control Programme in Ghana and is responsible for Clinical Care and Capacity Building.

He is both a member of the Ghana Medical Association and the Ghana Bar Association and has had a mixture of the practice of medicine and law over the past 13 years. His rare skills and expertise make him a sought-after consultant in the area of medico-legality for which he consults for medical and legal practitioners as well as for law firms, healthcare and corporate Institutions.  As a member of the Institute of Directors (Ghana) he inculcates proper governance and administrative structure and processes in all his professional and organizational dealings.

Bernard is a member of the Ghana Palliative Care Association and currently serves as the interim General Secretary and working with other members of the Executive to strategically position the Association to not only continue leading the course of palliative care in Ghana, but to make it a critical and recognized area of healthcare Nationally.  

He is driven by his desire to see a high sense of human dignity accorded every person irrespective of age, class, colour, and social status, state of health or nature of disease being transient, chronic or terminal.

Dr. Dornoo joined the APCA Board of Directors in September 2010, and he finds serving on it as a rare and humbling experience and an opportunity to contribute to humanity the love and care that God has so freely shed upon us.

Professor Beugré Kouassi

Prof. Beugre Kouassi holds a Masters degree in Health Management (DSPMS) from the African Management Centre in Abidjan, a doctorate in Medicine from the Faculty of Medicine of Abidjan and a philosophy doctorate in Neurology, certified by the CAMES which is the African and Malagashy Council for Higher Education.  
He undertook practical training in neuroepidemiology at  the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke at Bethesda, USA, from 1985-86, and practical training in virology (HIV, HTLV-1 and Hepatitis B) in Kumamoto, Japan, in 1990.

He worked with the School of Medicine in Abidjan as Deputy Director from 1994-1997, and also with the Ministry of Health as the Research and Training Director from 2000- 2003. He is currently the Head of the Neurological Unit at the National University Hospital of Abidjan-Cocody, a position he has held since 1998.

Prof. Kouassi has supported and facilitated the development of Palliative Care in Cote D’Ivoire since 2004. He led the National palliative care technical task force, of the Ministry of Health, in developing policies, training materials and practical tools, and procedures documentation. He is also the Chairman of the Board of the newly formed Palliative Care Association of Cote D’Ivoire (ASPCI). He is a member of the Pan African Association of Neurological Science, the Pan-American Neuroepidemiology Association, the World Federation of Neurology and also the African Palliative Care Association.

Prof. Beugre Kouassi has been a dedicated member of the APCA Board of Directors since September 2007 and will be stepping down in September 2013, after serving diligently.


Mati  Nejmi. MD, Professor of  Anesthésiology and Intensive Care, Specialist of  Pain and Palliative Care, Head of  Department of Anesthésiology in the National Institute of Oncology,University of Rabat (Morocco)

Prof. Mati Nejmi has been working as Co-ordinator of the National Center of Pain and Palliative Care for 20 years. He has extensive experience working with both the Moroccan and International Programs.
As part of the International Programs, Pr. Nejmi has worked with ;

  • Douleurs Sans Frontières Morocco (DSF), an Internatinal NGO based in Paris, France, where he was involved in programme management of  pain and care, and also collaborated with the Department of  pain and palliative medicine in Hospital Lariboisiere in Paris. .
  • The Department of Research in pain at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre (TX, Houston. U.S.A.), as a collaborator.

He is the President and Founder  of the Moroccan Society of  Palliative Care  and  Study of Pain, and participated in the development of the National Plan of Prevention and Care of Cancer. He also recently coordinated the development of an on-line course in Pain and Palliative care which provides all the different aspects of the management of pain and palliative care.

Prof. Mati Nejmi joined the APCA Board of Directors in July 2011.

Mr. John Mastrojohn III

Mr. John Mastrojohn III serves as the Sr. Vice President, Office of Philanthropy at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. In his role, Mr. Mastrojohn serves as the Executive Director, of the National Hospice Foundation (NHF) and FHSSA (which began as the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa).

John has over 20 years of experience in healthcare leadership and served as founding director of Palliative Care and Hospice Services at a large, integrated health system in Ohio. He holds a Master of Science in nursing administration and a Master of Business Administration degree. During the 2004/2005 academic year, he served as a US Fulbright Fellow in Hungary focusing on end-of-life care development.

John has also served as adjunct faculty at Kent State University, the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, and the University of Pécs in Hungary. He has presented nationally and internationally on a variety of hospice and palliative care issues related to access, pain management, and quality/quality improvement, and has also been published in peer reviewed scientific journals on end-of-life care topics.

Mr. John Mastrojohn III joined the APCA Board of Directors in July, 2011.

Ms. Zodwa Sithole, National Advocacy Manager Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA) & Regional Manager for KwaZulu-Natal.

Ms. Sithole has worked for 27 years within the health sector in various disciplines, including general nursing, midwifery, community health, and palliative care.

During this time she has gained experience in numerous Private, Government and Community Institutions. She has also functioned in environments with limited resources and overcome challenges resulting from illiteracy, abject poverty and general deprivation. These work environments have allowed her to experience the diversity of both first and third world care.    

Zodwa has formal training in General Nursing, Midwifery, Primary Health Care, Nursing Administration and Education, Community Health Care and Palliative Care and holds a B.Cur degree and a Master’s degree in Nursing.  

She has also presented at numerous National and International conferences. Ms. Sithole joined the APCA Board of Directors in September 2007 and will be stepping down in September 2013 after serving diligently and with dedication.

Dr. Elizabeth Gwyther, CEO Hospice and Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA)

Liz Gwyther was born in Zimbabwe and studied medicine at the University of Cape Town graduating in 1979 with MB ChB.  She worked as a GP in Zimbabwe and South Africa and qualified as Family Physician (FCFP) in 1993.  She started in hospice care on a voluntary basis in 1993 and obtained MSc in Palliative Medicine at the University of Wales, College of Medicine in 2003. She is CEO of Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA); a director of the Networking AIDS Community of South Africa (NACOSA); a Trustee of the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA); a director of the African Palliative Care Association, of ehospice and of the Pain Society of South Africa.

She is a senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town where she heads the Palliative Care team within the School of Public Health and Family Medicine. She is the convener for the postgraduate programmes in Palliative Medicine and is responsible for research supervision and support for publications of the postgraduate students. Her special interests are women’s health and palliative care (in particular palliative care in HIV/AIDS) and human rights in health care.  In 2007, she was awarded the SA Medical Association’s Gender Award for Human Rights in Health and the SA Institute of Health Managers Leadership in Health Systems award.
She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Pain & Symptom Management published in the USA.

Dr. Liz Gwyther joined the APCA Board in November 2012 as a co-opted member.