Scientific Advisors 

Dr Robin Biellik, DrPH - Retired Epidemiologist WHO - Geneva, Switzerland

Dr Robin Biellik has 40 years’ experience in public health, primarily in VPD control and elimination.  Initially, he worked for UNHCR and UNICEF in Africa and several NGOs in Latin America.  After completing the Epidemic Intelligence Service fellowship at CDC, Dr Biellik served for 17 years as WHO Immunization Advisor to Ministries of Health in 3 regions – AMR, SEAR and AFR. 

During his PAHO assignment in Brazil in the early 1990s, polio transmission was interrupted nationwide.  During 1994-2004, he directed the AFRO sub-regional EPI Team that provided technical assistance to national immunization programs in 14 countries in Southern Africa.  In the late 1990s, measles elimination was achieved in 7 southern African countries and was sustained for nearly a decade.  Later, Dr Biellik worked for PATH to accelerate the global introduction of rotavirus, HPV and Japanese encephalitis vaccines, providing evidence to NITAGs on disease burden, vaccine cost-effectiveness and operational requirements for successful roll-out. 

Dr Biellik was a member, then Chair, of the African Regional Measles-Rubella TAG from 2005 to 2016.  As a member of IPAC from 2010 to 2016, he focused on developing operational guidance on HepB birth dose delivery and immunization supply chains.  He currently chairs the WHO Programmatic Suitability for Vaccine Prequalification (PSPQ) Standing Committee, and serves as a member of the African Regional Immunization TAG and the European Regional Measles-Rubella Verification Commission. 

Dr Biellik has authored peer-reviewed journal articles on measles and rubella elimination, vaccine-preventable disease surveillance, nosocomial measles transmission, and routine immunization.  Since retiring, he has undertaken assignments for WHO, UNICEF, USAID, BMGF, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  Dr Biellik is an invited reviewer for several journals including the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Lancet, Vaccine and WHO Bulletin.  He is a British citizen and holds a doctoral degree in international public health.

Dr Edith Maes, DBA, MSc - Health Economist Global Health, Planet Strategy Group, Strassen, Luxembourg

Dr Edith Maes is an experienced manager who has held leadership and consultancy positions in both public and private organizations in Europe and the US. These include Director positions primarily in health economics and health care management consultancy, working with highly qualified staff in a global multicultural environment.

She was Director HEOR at Monitor Deloitte, Brussels Belgium, and currently she is a Managing Partner at Planet Strategy Group, Strassen, Luxembourg. Prior to this she was Vice President of the Center for Leadership and Management, at Management Sciences for Health (MSH), a global non-profit management consultancy organization based in Cambridge-Boston, MA, USA. Before moving to the US, she was Associate Professor and Director of Maastricht Graduate Programs (MSc, MBA, and DBA) at Maastricht School of Management, a global management education institute based in The Netherlands. She started her career at Leuven University Hospitals in Belgium.

Dr Maes holds a DBA degree from Maastricht School of Management, The Netherlands, and a MSc degree in health services management from Eastern University, Philadelphia, USA. She speaks and writes Dutch, French and English fluently. She has a thorough understanding of health economics, policy and value outcomes of in particular vaccines. She co-authored management and health economic publications and has presented her work at scientific conferences and government agency meetings.

Prof Dr Fred Were, MD, PhD - Professor of Paediatrics, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Nairobi - Nairobi, Kenya

Professor Fred Were received his Medical Degree from the University of Nairobi. He then undertook a paediatric residency at the Kenyatta National Hospital. Soon after qualification as a Paediatrician, he spent two years at the Monash University/Medical Centre in a fellowship program leading to graduation as a Neonatologist. Between 2002 and 2007 he was senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi and finalized his PhD in 2008.

Fred Were is professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Nairobi. He presently holds portfolios of Adjunct Professor of Newborn Medicine at the Aga Khan University (East Africa) and Chief Research Adviser of The Kenya Paediatric Research Consortium.

Prof Were served as Dean of the school of Medicine at the University of Nairobi till 2019, as National Chairman of The Kenya Paediatric Association (2002-2012) and Committee member of the World Association of Perinatal Medicine (2008-2011) among many others. He continues serving as member of the International Paediatric Association, of the International Society of Tropical Paediatrics as president and Eastern African Paediatric Association as president. 

Prof Were was member of the Strategic  Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) from 2013 to 2019. He also participates in several national and regional committees on immunization (NITAG, TAG, Polio Certification) and was appointed Chair of Kenya’s National Immunization Technical Advisory Group. He has published over 100 papers in the areas of newborn medicine and health systems.

In Kenya he serves as an informal advisor on immunization to the Ministry of Health where he has been pivotal in the development of the National Immunization Policy, Health Workers’ Guide to Vaccines & Immunization.

Dr Salah Al Awaidy, MD, MSc - Sr. Consultant Epidemiologist, Communicable Disease Surveillance and Control Advisor to the office of the Undersecretary of Health Affairs at the Ministry of Health - Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Dr Al Awaidy is a Communicable Disease Surveillance and Control Adviser to the office of the Undersecretary of Health Affairs at the Ministry of Health in Oman. He currently advises on eradication, elimination and control of communicable diseases of public health importance, in addition to the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), vaccine supply chain system and International Health Regulations (IHR). Dr Al Awaidy is a medical doctor and holds a Masters in Epidemiology. 

From 1997 to 2012, Dr Al Awaidy held the post of Director of Communicable Disease Surveillance and Control, MOH in Oman. During this period, he was assigned as the EPI National Program Manager and served as a member in several of the national professional committees, namely: member and secretary of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), National focal point for IHR, National Polio programme manager, national member and secretariat of the Polio Certification, Acute Flaccid Paralysis and Measles and Rubella expert and vaccine preventable diseases (VPD) national committees and the Zoonotic Committee from 1997 to August 2011. 

Dr Al Awaidy was also involved in establishing a strong NITAG and in developing the national public health law. He has also been involved in various international committees including serving as Chair for the TAG on Poliomyelitis Eradication in Afghanistan (2011-12) and he has represented the group at Polio IMB meetings several times. He has been a member of the TAG on Poliomyelitis Eradication in Pakistan & Afghanistan since 2013. He has served as a member of the IHR Roster of Experts since 2005 and IHR-wild Polio Eradication since 2014. He works closely with the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) of WHO and serves as a member of the IHR Emergency Committee on Polio and MERS-CoV.   

In addition to being an adviser to, he has authored or co-authored over 50 publications on a broad range of public health topics, including VPDs.

Presently, he is participating in various WHO meetings and missions as well as congress meetings both globally and regionally. His main interests are in the EPI programme, vaccination and vaccinology, vaccine supply chain, Communicable Diseases Surveillance, VPD eradication and elimination and IHR.

Last updated: Sep 8, 2020

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