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Executive Secretariat

Background of staff at the Executive Secretariat

Carine Dochez, MSc, MenvM, PhD - Director NESI

Carine Dochez obtained her MSc in Biology in 1992 from the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and a MSc in Environmental Management in 1999 from the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. She obtained her PhD in Biology at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, in 2004.

From 1992 till 1994, she was a researcher at the Department of Protozoology at the Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. Her research focused on the assessment of potential antimalarial drugs and the development of in vitro and in vivo research tools. Subjects of research were lead drugs from the naphthyl isoquinoline alkaloid family, artemisinin and derivatives from Artemisia annua L. cultures, in vitro erythrocytic stages of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and erythrocytic and exo-erythrocytic stages of P. berghei in vitro and in vivo. In 1995, she worked at the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Antwerp, Belgium.

In 1996, she was recruited by the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB), and subsequently stationed in Nigeria (1996 and 1997) and Uganda (1999-2005). During her eight-years African stay she built up extensive experience in development aid, food security and health in Africa, project management, and international collaboration.

Carine Dochez joined NESI in October 2005, and is since 2013 responsible for the overall management of the Network. She is co-author of a number of scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, and participated in and co-organised many international symposia, workshops and training activities related to vaccines and immunisation. She is also teaching in the TropEd MSc Programme in International Health at the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Berlin, Germany and is affiliated senior lecturer at the Department Medical Microbiology at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

André Meheus, Professor Emeritus, MD, PhD - Senior Advisor †

André Meheus graduated as MD from the University of Ghent, Belgium in 1969, studied tropical medicine (Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp), medical statistics and epidemiology (University of Brussels) and occupational health (University of Ghent). He became in 1969 assistant in the Department of Social Medicine and Hygiene, University of Ghent, and from 1971 to 1974 he was responsible for public health teaching and training at the National University in Butare-Rwanda, Central Africa. In 1974 he moved to the department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at the University of Antwerp as senior lecturer, became associate professor in 1978 and full professor in 1986. From 1987 to 1993 he was the Programme Manager at the World Health Organization, Geneva, of the Programme of sexually transmitted diseases and treponematoses (WHO/VDT); in 1993 he resumed his post as professor and head of the Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine in Antwerp.

In the late sixties, research interests focused on the epidemiology of ischemic heart disease and chronic non-specific lung disease. Since the early seventies, related to extensive work in developing countries, research and public health work has focused on the epidemiology and control of infectious diseases, in particular sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, and since the late nineties also on vaccine-preventable diseases. Published more than 350 scientific articles and books on subjects of public health, preventive medicine and infectious disease control, was a member of the editorial board of the major STD/AIDS journals and of the expert panel for venereal diseases and treponematoses of the World Health Organization. Was advisor on international public health for many governments, multilateral and bilateral agencies.

André Meheus was the founding father of NESI and passed away on 2 July 2019.

Madan Khatiwada, MSc Vaccinology, Research Assistant

Madan Khatiwada completed his Master of Science Degree in Vaccinology in July 2019. As a part of the Erasmus+ Mundus Master Degree, Mr. Khatiwada has been trained on different aspects of vaccinology like immunology, infectiology, vaccine research and development, project management, communications and public health on vaccines. He also received training classes on vaccine research, clinical development, manufacturing, novel technologies and vaccine portfolio management in GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, Sanofi Pasteur and Boehringer Ingelheim.

He successfully completed his internship at NESI working on a project that aimed at finding out the knowledge, attitude and willingness of university students towards HPV vaccine and also assessed the potential barriers for HPV vaccination in Indonesia.

Madan joined NESI as a Research Assistant in September 2019 and will be involved in various activities of the network ranging from Operational Research and Technical Support to Education and Training on vaccines and immunisation.

Sergio Castillo, MSc Vaccinology, Intern

Sergio Castillo is a Medical Doctor and currently is studying an Erasmus Mundus “Leading International Vaccinology Education” Masters degree where he has developed multiple skills including immunology and infectiology, vaccine research and development, project management, communication and public health on vaccines. He also completed courses on novelty in vaccine technology, economic, and clinical development in GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi Pasteur and Boehringer Ingelheim. His goal is to apply the scientific, clinical and anthropological experience for the creation of sustainable vaccinology and public health programs.

​Since January 2021, he has been working on the project “Assessing COVID-19 vaccine acceptability in the general public, especially adults and elderly, in Oman” as part of his internship ​at NESI.

Dennis Misac Giron, MSc Vaccinology, Intern

Dennis Misac Giron is a graduate of Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas and later obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree from St. Luke’s Medical Center-College of Medicine in The Philippines. He is now enrolled as an Erasmus Mundus student in Master’s in Leading International Vaccinology Education (LIVE+) where he learned immunology, infectiology and public health-related to vaccination in the background of industry exposure, mobility  and international cultural immersion.

He is currently an intern at NESI working on a project regarding the Assessment of COVID-19 vaccine acceptability among healthcare workers in Oman. 

Katrin Verboven - Administrative and Finance Project Coordinator

Katrin Verboven obtained a master in Arabic and Islamic Studies in 1994 and took up a postgraduate course in International Relations in 1994-1995 from the Catholic University in Leuven. In 1995 she moved to Cairo, Egypt, to take additional courses at the Dutch-Flemish Institute in Cairo.

She joined the Institute of Cultural Affairs, an international NGO, and worked as a volunteer on the development and management of their local library in Cairo.

In 1997 she started working at the Netherlands Embassy in Cairo as trade assistant and was mainly involved in organizing trade missions, trade fairs and providing Egyptian companies with trade information on the Netherlands. In 2000 she took up an assignment for one year at the Flanders Investment & Trade Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to run the administration of their office.

In 2001 she was recruited again by the Dutch government to assist the Netherlands Consulate General in Dubai. Till 2008 she was PA to the Consul General and was mainly organizing trade missions, cultural events and official delegations to Dubai.

Katrin Verboven joined NESI in April 2010 and is responsible for the administrative and financial management of the project in general and in particular the administrative and financial coordination of international symposia and workshops related to vaccines and immunisation. 

Marleen Van Steenbergen - Administrative Assistant †

Marleen Van Steenbergen joined NESI in January 2009 and was responsible for the administration of the project and in particular the management of the alumni database.

Koen De Schrijver, Professor of Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, MD, PhD - Senior Advisor

Koen De Schrijver graduated as MD from the University of Leuven in 1975. He obtained a master degree at the University of Leuven in Public Health in 1978, occupational health in 1980, and environmental health at the University of Antwerp in 1985. He studied epidemiology and biostatistics in Leuven, Veyriers and Bilthoven 1983-1989. He did his PhD study on outbreak management and surveillance of infectious diseases at the University of Antwerp in 2004.

Koen De Schrijver worked as a public health physician at the Department of infectious disease control of Antwerp from 1980 to 2015.  He worked as lecturer at the University of Antwerp since 1983 and became guest professor in 2004 dealing with epidemiology of infectious diseases.

Since 2015 he works full time at the University of Antwerp at the department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine. He’s author and co-author of many publications especially on infectious diseases like vaccine preventable diseases (measles, mumps, pertussis, meningococcal diseases), legionellosis, STDs, foodborne diseases, hepatitis A, B, E, malaria and trichinosis. He’s the medical editor of the Flemisch guidelines of control of infectious diseases.  He’s member of the editorial board of Eurosurveillance and Infectieziektebulletin and advisor of different governmental public health committees.

Antoon De Schryver, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology, MD, PhD - Senior Advisorof Infectious Diseases, MD, PhD - Senior Advisor

Antoon De Schryver graduated as MD from the University of Ghent, Belgium in 1980, studied tropical medicine (Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp). He obtained a master degree in occupational health (1983), public health (1984) and hospital hygiene (1997) and obtained a PhD degree with doctoral thesis in Medical Sciences, from the University of Ghent (1990) and is a certified specialist in Occupational Medicine.

After working 2 years in then Zaïre, Africa (1980-1982), mainly involved in the execution of the EPI programme in a rural health district, he became assistant for 6 years at the Department of Social Medicine and Hygiene, University of Ghent (1982-1988). He then joined the WHO in Geneva for 3 years as a medical officer (Programme of sexually transmitted diseases) (1988-1991). Since 1991 he has been working as an occupational physician in Belgium, combining this task with a part-time academic assignment, first at the Department of Public Health, University of Ghent (1996-2005). 

He is currently working in the Department of Research & Development of IDEWE, the largest occupational health service in Belgium, and since 2005 he is part-time professor of epidemiology and occupational medicine at the University of Antwerp, mainly dealing with epidemiology of infectious work-related infections and immunization.

Research interests focused on epidemiology and control of infectious diseases (Africa), particularly sexually transmitted diseases (WHO) and prevention and screening for cancer. Currently his main research interest is epidemiology of occupational diseases, particularly infectious diseases and vaccination in healthcare workers.
He has published a number of scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, and participated in and co-organized many international symposia on public health, and is a member of a number of national and international societies dealing with occupational aspects of vaccine-preventable diseases in workers. He is advisor to different governmental and international public health committees.

Joost Weyler, Professor of Epidemioloy and Medical Statistics, MD, PhD - Senior Advisor

Joost Weyler graduated at Ghent University as Medical Doctor in 1980. He also got a Master’s degree in Insurance Medicine and Occupational Medicine. Since 1982, he has been working as scientific co-worker on the project ‘Cancer prevention’ at the Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Antwerp.

In 1993 he obtained a Qualified Teacher’s Degree for Higher Education with a (PhD) thesis entitled: ‘Relative effect measures in case control studies’. In 1994 Joost Weyler was nominated as ‘Lecturer’ at the Faculty of Medicine. Since 2008 he is appointed as ‘Ordinary Professor’. In this position he is mainly occupied with education in epidemiology and medical statistics, with epidemiological research applied to cancer and respiratory diseases and with the methodological assistance of medical scientific research at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Since October 2012 he is chairing the Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine.

Joost Weyler conducts lectures in epidemiology and medical statistics in the graduate programmes ‘Medicine’ and ‘Biomedical Sciences’ at the Universities of Antwerp and Hasselt. Furthermore he teaches epidemiology in the interuniversity advanced master programmes (occupational medicine, insurance medicine, youth health care). Joost Weyler is programme director of the ‘Master in Epidemiology’ organised at the Antwerp University since 2012. 

Joost Weyler was involved in several international courses in (tropical) epidemiology (Antwerp, Basel, Bandung, Limpopo, Maputo, Bamenda, Buea).
His scientific activities are mainly situated in the domain of cancer epidemiology, with emphasis on cancer prevention and cancer registration, and in the domain of respiratory diseases (asthma). Joost Weyler is a frequently asked adviser for methodological and analytical aspects of medical scientific research. The results of these activities are presented at several international congresses and resulted in several publications in international journals (h-index=34).

Joost Weyler has been a member of various policy preparatory committees.

Annelies Van Rie, MD, PhD - Senior Advisor

Annelies Van Rie obtained her M.D. at the University of Leuven, Belgium in 1991, after which she specialized in pediatric medicine, with a special focus on infectious disease pediatrics.

From 1997 to 2000, she lived in South Africa and was enrolled in the PhD program at the University of Stellenbosch. She achieved her PhD degree from the University of Stellenbosch in December 2000 for her work on the molecular epidemiology of tuberculosis in a high burden community.

In 2000 and 2001, she worked as a medical epidemiologist at Aventis Pasteur in Lyon. Through an epidemiological study, she was able to prove that the vast majority of young infants hospitalized with pertussis were infected by their mother, supporting the development of the maternal vaccination program for pertussis.

In 2001, she started her academic career at the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the United States, where she worked until 2015. In 2015, she returned to Belgium and took a position as Professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at the University of Antwerp. In this position, she combines research with education in epidemiology. In the past 15 years, Annelies Van Rie has been principal investigator or co-Investigator on several NIH, CDC, USAID, VLIR and FWO funded research studies and implementation projects, resulting in over 170 publications in peer reviewed journals. 

Guido Van Hal, Professor Medical Sociology and Health Policy, PhD - Senior Advisor

Guido Van Hal is a medical sociologist. He established the Research Unit Medical Sociology and Health Policy within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. The Research Unit has extensive experience with quantitative and qualitative research methodology. The main topics of interest are substance abuse and cancer screening. 

Evariste Mutabaruka, MD, MSc - Senior Advisor †

Evariste Mutabaruka was a Medical Doctor (Université Nationale du Rwanda, 1980) who also held a Master’s degrees in Health Management and Medical Education (ENAP – Université Laval, 1987). Since 1988, he has been teaching and consulting on health management and medical education throughout Africa. During his 13 years with WHO in the African Region, he served as Course Director and Co-Facilitator for 26 inter-country Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) Mid-Level Management (MLM) courses, each including a training of trainers (ToT) session.

He was an accomplished expert with extensive domestic and international experience in assisting developing country governments in public sector and programme management, as well as providing institutional and individual capacity building expertise to private undertakings and multilateral organizations (WHO, World Bank, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, JICA, Centre Africain de Management et de Perfectionnement des Cadres (CAMPC) and JHPIEGO).

Evariste Mutabaruka was a specialist in developing and delivering training on immunisation management skills. Topics have included: the problem solving approach; effectively managing immunization services in a changing environment; monitoring and evaluation of immunisation activities (including conducting coverage surveys); vaccine-preventable disease surveillance; effective communication within and for the EPI; planning immunisation activities; supportive supervision; designing effective strategies to increase immunisation coverage; adequately budgeting/costing immunisation services using the Gavi costing tool; and effective management of the cold chain, new vaccine introduction, and supplemental immunization activities. 

Evariste Mutabaruka passed away on 1 October 2019.  

Last updated: Jun 4, 2021
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