Hana Soualah-Alila

Vice-Chairperson

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Joseph Maina

Secretary General

Joseph is an employee of the Kenya Wildlife Service where he works as a veterinary technologist. He has a wealth of experience in both wildlife health and conservation related fields. His hands on work experience spans over two decades. He has gained further knowledge in contemporary molecular techniques such as the Oxford NANOPORE® Next Generation Genome Sequencing technologies at the University of Leicester in the UK leading to an understanding of how genome sequence variants underlie phenotype and disease. He has participated and made significant contributions in the implementation of the wildlife component of Rinderpest disease eradication campaigns and programmes necessary towards the  build-up of a dossier by Kenya in terms of the disease data collection that eventually lead to the declaration of the country as Rinderpest free by the OIE in the year 2011. Joseph is an easy going down to earth person. In his current capacity as the general secretary, he intends to serve the WDA-AME region chapter with commitment and dedication with an aim of reaching out to more members especially in the eastern Africa section.

Vincent Obanda

Vice-Secretary General

Vincent Obanda is a passionate Conservation Scientist whose early career started as a zoologist and over the years has developed a strong niche in Disease Ecology. He is excited to see the progressive growth of the Africa - Middle East Chapter of the WDA, having served as a member of the executive in the previous committee. In 2015, he graduated with a PhD in Applied Veterinary Parasitology from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. His study focused on how habitat overlap influences spread and evolution of pathogens among wild and domestic animals. His current research interests are on ecological drivers of emergence and spread of Zoonoses and Food Animal Diseases that includes Newcastle disease, Foot-and-Mouth Disease, Anthrax, Arboviruses and bat-borne viruses. He is employed by the Kenya Wildlife Service where he has worked for over 10 years. Outside his regular work, he mentors postgraduate students and also serves as a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) on Wild pigs. As Deputy Secretary, he aspires to see the WDA-Africa & Middle East embraced as a ‘home’ for all disciplines that contributes to the understanding, prevention, control and management of Diseases in Wildlife.

Stephen Chege

Chairperson

Dr Stephen Chege is the current Chairman of the Wildlife Disease Association – Africa & Middle East Section (WDA-AME) and has served previously in the same organization as a Vice-Chairman for the period of 2016-2018. He has over 18 years’ experience in wildlife health and conservation. Dr Chege is currently coordinating a wildlife disease surveillance program mainly focusing on endangered species (Hirola and the Grevy’s zebra) in Northern Kenya and in collaboration with San Diego Zoo, Institute of Conservation Research, Northern Rangelands Trust and the Kenya Wildlife Service. He is also the veterinary consultant for the Reteti elephant sanctuary whose mission is to Rescue and Rehabilitate orphaned/abandoned elephants and releasing them back to the wild. As the current Chair of WDA-AME, my goal is to ensure that we create more awareness about wildlife health in Africa & Middle East and nurture young talents to take up wildlife conservation for posterity.

Annie Cook

Treasurer

Annie Cook is a veterinary epidemiologist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Her role is to investigate the epidemiology of diseases at the wildlife-domestic-human interface. She is currently conducting research on diseases transmitted to cattle from wildlife including Corridor disease from African buffalo and Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF) from wildebeest. Annie is a veterinarian and spent 8 years in clinical practice in Australia and the UK before focusing full time on research. She has a Masters in Wild Animal Health and a Masters in Public Health. Annie’s PhD research investigated the epidemiology of zoonotic diseases in slaughterhouse workers in western Kenya. Annie has been an active member of the WDA AME section since inception in 2014. First as the student representative and now as treasurer. She would like to see the section grow and become a network of specialists and resource for professionals in the region.

Eduard Roos

Student Representative

Eduard is an avid lover of the natural world and amateur wildlife photographer. He completed his BSc. Zoology at the University of Pretoria in 2013. There after he moved to the University of the Free State to complete his BSc. Hons. Zoology, studying the phylogenetic relationships of haemoparasites in the local lizard population. In 2018 he finished his PhD in Molecular Biology at Stellenbosch University where he developed a number of molecular diagnostic techniques to detect Mycobacterium bovis infection in Phacochoerus africanus (Common Warthog). Currently he is investigating anti-body cross reactivity, to develop novel reagents for the detection and characterisation of various viral diseases, such as African Swine Fever and Foot-and-Mouth disease.

Veronica Eyihuri ADETUNJI

Committee member

Dr. Veronica Eyihuri ADETUNJI hails from Obangede in Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State, Nigeria. She attended Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Moor Plantation Ibadan, where she obtained National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in 1994 and 1998 respectively. She later proceeded to the University of Ibadan in 2003, where she bagged her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine as well as a Master of Veterinary Public Health in 2008 and 2010 respectively. She is currently concluding her Doctor of Philosophy degree the University of Ibadan. Dr Adetunji is a lecturer in the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Ibadan. She has been involved in the teaching of Wildlife and Fish Ecology, Management and Diseases to undergraduate students of Veterinary Medicine. She has a keen interest in zoo and wild animal health management and has conducted researches in these areas. Her current research is on molecular characterization of haemoparasites of chelonians and other reptiles. She is registered with Veterinary Council of Nigeria, a member of Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and Association of Exotic Mammals Veterinarians.

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