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Mectizan Expert Committee

The Mectizan Expert Committee (MEC) is an independent body of seven internationally recognized experts in the fields of public health, tropical disease, and ophthalmology established by Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A.* to provide technical oversight of the Mectizan Donation Program. With the exception of the Chair, Mectizan Expert Committee Members are appointed for two-to-three-year terms and meet at least once annually.

Members

Dr. Gilbert Burnham, Chair of the Mectizan Expert Committee

Dr. Burnham is a Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in the department of international health. He has extensive field experience in onchocerciasis control and has worked on a number of World Health Organization (WHO) onchocerciasis-related working groups, including the WHO Ivermectin Subcommittee and Scientific Working Group on Filariasis and the WHO Onchocerciasis Operational Research Task Force. He also provided assistance to the WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases analyzing the impact of ivermectin on onchocercal skin disease. Dr. Burnham worked in Malawi to establish a Mectizan distribution program and eye care project, and he conducted an evaluation of the Malawi onchocerciasis control program for the International Eye Foundation. He also worked in Uganda on an onchocerciasis control consultation for Deutsche Gesellschaft Technische Zusammenarbeit. Dr. Burnham has published a number of articles on onchocerciasis and other tropical diseases, including an editorial commentary in the Lancet on the use of ivermectin in loiasis-endemic areas, a topic frequently discussed during MEC/AC meetings.

Dr. Allison Krentel

Dr. Krentel is a behavioral health scientist at the Bruyère Research Institute and Assistant Professor at the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa

Dr. Tom Nutman

Dr. Nutman is Lab Chief, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases and Chief, Helminth Immunology / Clinical Parasitology Sections at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Dr. B.E.B. Nwoke

Dr. Nwoke is an entomologist and parasitologist and professor at Imo State University in Owerri, Nigeria.

Dr. Sebastian Pion

Dr. Kapa D. Ramaiah

Dr. Ramaiah has over 30 years of experience in vectorborne disease control working with the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Vector Control Research Centre (VCRC) in Pondicherry, India from 1980-2012. During his time at VCRC he completed his PhD from the University of Pondicherry focused on the transmission dynamics of lymphatic filariasis (LF). His work on collaborative research projects with WHO TDR has contributed greatly to the global evidence base for: evaluating impact of mass drug administration on infection and transmission, methods of LF surveillance, the social and economic impact of LF, and the global burden of disease due to LF. The outcomes of his work have resulted in a total of 70 publications.

Dr. Ramaiah has also worked with WHO in Geneva and the Western Pacific Regional office as well as RTI International providing technical support to over 13 national LF elimination programmes. He understands all aspects of LF elimination programme development implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. He has recently served on the Regional Dossier Review Group of the South East Asia Regional Office of WHO to critically assess elimination dossiers submitted and advise WHO on whether or not to validate the claims of achieving elimination of LF as a public health problem.

Dr. Wilma Stolk

Dr. Stolk is Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health at Erasmus MC, University Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Dr. Tony Ukety

Dr. Laurent Yaméogo 

Dr. Yaméogo, the 2015 Merck Mectizan Award winner,  served as coordinator for the WHO’s African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) from 2002-2015. He has expertise as a hydrobiologist entomologist and a wealth of skills related to river blindness and lymphatic filariasis including working with endemic communities, laboratory work, and technical assignments that have informed policy decisions on program implementation. In 2013 the government of Benin honored him as Officer for services to improve the health of the people of Africa. In 2015 he was nominated as a member of the WHO Guideline Development Group and helped develop the “Guidelines for Stopping Mass Drug Administration and Verifying Elimination of Human Onchocerciasis.” He also served as a member of the WHO AFRO Working Group formed to develop the Expanded Special Program on NTDs (ESPEN). In 2016, he was appointed as a member of Burkina Faso’s National Onchocerciasis Elimination Committee and a member of the francophone network for the control/elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases. After retiring from WHO in 2017, he has been working as a consultant with the World Bank in Burkina Faso on NTDs to strengthen the private health sector.

Liaison Organizations

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Global Alliance for LF Elimination
GlaxoSmithKline
Onchocerciasis Elimination NGO Group
Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas
Merck*
WHO
WHO AFRO
WHO EMRO
WHO PAHO
WHO SEARO
WHO WPRO
LF Regional Program Review Group

*Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A., is known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada.