Dr. Cheikh Mbacké is new COHRED Board Chair

Categories:Press Releases

Foundation’s management will guide COHRED’s drive in national health research system development.

Geneva, April 9, 2008.

The Board of COHRED announced today the election of the organisation’s next board chair, Dr. Cheikh Seydil Moctar Mbacké, a demographer, researcher and senior research manager with extensive experience in population health in Africa and Asia. From the end of this year, he will succeed Professor Marian Jacobs,

COHRED’s current board chair and dean of the Faculty of
Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Dr. Mbacké has held senior research and leadership positions in public health at the service of developing
countries for the past 20 years. Much of this time was spent with the Rockefeller Foundation, where he was
Senior Vice President, Director for Africa, and Senior Scientist for population health, among other management positions. His early career was spent as a researcher in Senegal and Mali. He holds a doctorate in population studies from University of Pennsylvania and has degrees from IFORD (Cameroon) and INSEE, (France).

Announcing the election of the new Board Chair, Marian Jacobs says that the perspectives and experience of Dr.
Mbacké will be key to supporting COHRED in its mission to enable low and middle income countries to build
strong research systems and capacity; so needed to deal effectively and sustainably with ongoing problems in health, equity and development. “As a southern alliance with key northern partners, COHRED will benefit from Dr. Mbacké’s strategic and management experience in the field of population health research, and his intimate knowledge of the health research needs of low income countries,” she says.

Dr. Mbacké joins the COHRED board at a key time for the organisation – as its specific expertise in health
research system strengthening is in increasing demand by low income countries and populations as an effective
mechanism to reach international health goals and build sustainable national health systems. The need for a
systems approach is being recognised by global health programmes and international organisations as a key to
improving the effectiveness of their health and health research investments.

Says Dr. Mbacké: “The past decade has been one of unparalleled investment in health research that is focused on the needs of neglected populations and diseases – both in the number of new initiatives and programmes, and the vast amounts coming from new research programmes and partnerships.”

“Despite these efforts, many of these countries continue to have persistent poverty and public health problems.

This shows that without a national system to ensure the management, implementation and local ownership of health research, health research investments cannot reach their full potential in helping the most disadvantaged populations. This is the health research system approach that COHRED has championed over the past 15 years.

A growing number of countries, global programmes and international organisations are now recognising that this thinking can make their research more effective. It is a privilege to be able to contribute to the achievement of social justice in this way”, he says.

“Cheikh Mbacké’s agreement to chair the COHRED Board after the long and inspired leadership provided by
Marian Jacobs is also very timely in broadening the focus from ‘health research’ to ‘research for health’ –
emphasizing that research is only as useful as the meaningful health impact it generates”, states Carel
IJsselmuiden, COHRED’s Director.

Given continuing health inequities, in both the developing and the developed world, COHRED promotes health research that addresses the needs of the disadvantaged. COHRED works with countries to build the skills and systems required for such essential research. We partner with governments, research institutions, and local communities, building on expertise from around the world to build the national research capacity needed to improve health, reduce health inequity and to support development.

For more information, contact

Michael Devlin (devlin@cohred.org / +41-22-590-8900) COHRED – Council on Health Research for Development www.cohred.org

Making health research work … for everyone Board of the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED)

  • Prof. Marian Jacobs Chair of COHRED Board (to October 2009) Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Abbas U Bhuiya, Ph.D Senior Scientist Head, Poverty and Health Programme & Social and Behavioural Sciences Unit, Public Health Sciences Division, ICDDR,B: Centre for Health and Population Research, Bangladesh.
  • Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, M.D President, New York Academy of Medicine, New York, USA.
  • Don de Savigny, PhDProfessor and Head of the Health Systems Interventions Unit in the Department of Public Healthand Epidemiology at the Swiss Tropical Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland.
  • Sambe Duale, MD, MPH Technical Director and Infectious Disease Advisor, Africa 2010. Washington, USA.
  • Prof. Carel IJsselmuiden, MD, MPH, FFCH(SA)Director: COHRED, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Dr. Daniel Maeusezahl Special Adviser for Health and Development, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Basel, Switzerland
  • Prof. Stephen Matlin Executive Director, the Global Forum for Health Research, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Dr. Pascoal Mocumbi High Representative, EDCTP – European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Dr. Pem Namgyal Medical Officer/Vaccine Preventable Diseases, WHO/South East Asia Regional Office, New Delhi, India.
  • Dr. Suzanne Jacob Serruya,Pan American Health Organization, Uruguay
  • Dr. Donald T. SimeonDirector, Caribbean Health Research Council, Trinidad & Tobago
  • Dr. Aissatou Toure BaldeHead, Laboratory of Parasite Immunology, Institut Pasteur, Dakar, Senegal


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