Tribute to Dr Mwele Ntuli Malecela

15 Feb 2022
Dr Malecela at the NNN 2019 in Liverpool

The NNN community is devastated by the passing of Dr Mwele Ntuli Malecela, Director of the Department of NTDs at WHO. Dr Malecela  was a source of strength, inspiration, and motivation for legions of public health practitioners working to eliminate NTDs. Her leadership and dynamism paved the way for a paradigm-shifting vision for disease elimination in the new NTD road map  for 2030. Her dedication to collaboration drew donors, governments, researchers, and NGOs closer together in committing to execute the vision of the road map. 

Dr. Malecela was an accomplished and brilliant scientist. Among her many achievements in research and leadership she was also the first woman to be appointed as the Director General of the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania. Her ascension to positions of authority and influence were matched by her humanity and generosity of spirit, which shone through in every interaction. Most recently, at the 2021 NNN conference, Dr Malecela spoke at not one, but two panel sessions. In the 11th hour of the conference planning, in the midst of various tasks and last minute changes, Dr Mwele, as she was affectionately called by the NTD community, patiently and kindly responded to requests from the organisers and true to form, delivered her poignant, inspiring contribution for the plenary session. 

Dr. Malecela would always make herself available to honour a request to support the cause of NTDs, be it a video message or a kind word of encouragement via social media. She treated students and early career professionals with the same respect and humanity that she did CEOs and high-level stakeholders. 

The NNN community extends its deepest sympathies to Dr. Mwele’s family, friends, and colleagues. 

We mourn her passing and commit to honouring her memory by redoubling our efforts to end NTDs.