Essential medicines and health products

Medicines Advisers

Putting the right people in the right place

WHO National Pharmaceutical Advisers are based in WHO Country Offices, and are a valuable source of specialist pharmaceutical expertise to over 40 countries. They ensure countries have consistent, intensive and long-term support in relation to medicines and health products, and work with Ministries of Health to assess and monitor country pharmaceutical sectors, identify policy priorities and coordinate WHO technical work in the pharmaceutical sector.

WHO’s Essential Medicines and Health Products Department liaises with and provides support to this unique network of highly-trained professionals, in close collaboration with WHO regional offices.

“One great innovation WHO made in its normative work was the creation of National Pharmaceutical Advisers for Medicines and Health Technologies, in 2001. The work of these professional advisers has allowed for proper coordination of all issues on medicines and health technologies in respect of effectiveness and efficiency of implementation of all aspects of medicines policy. Their work has added value for countries' decision making processes. This innovation could not have come at a better time”.
Martha Gyansa-Lutterodt
Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Ministry of Health, Ghana

Profiles of WHO National Pharmaceutical Advisers, African region

Burkina Faso

Arsène Ouedraogo has been responsible for pharmaceutical issues at the WHO office in Burkina Faso since January 2014. Trained as a pharmacist, he specializes in epidemiology and in regulation and management of pharmaceutical procurement systems. He was involved in a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening the pharmaceutical sector, including taking responsibility for the pedagogical secretariat of the interuniversity diploma in pharmaceutical supply management.


A pharmacist by training, Donatien Bigirimana is responsible for WHO essential medicines programmes in Burundi. He is co-chairman of the National Pharmaceutical Thematic Group, a national platform for dialogue and coordination. Before joining WHO, he was the director-general of the Central Medical Store of Burundi (CAMEBU), and was involved in a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening the pharmaceutical sector. He also worked in the health insurance sector as chief analyst of the National Network of Mutual Pharmacies, and for the Ministry of Health, where he has occupied a number of positions.

Congo (Republic of)

Ray Mankele is a biologist pharmacist, and has been a pharmaceutical adviser for the Congo since 2005. He has been overseeing the harmonization of drug policies in Central Africa on behalf of WHO since 2007. Prior to joining WHO, he was the biomedical director of the National Public Health Laboratory, the laboratory focal point in the Ministry of Health, and a lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Brazzaville. He has a Masters of Public Health, a Masters of Science in blood transfusion and a diploma of in-depth studies of valuation of aromatic and medicinal plants. He is the author of several scientific articles and technical manuals in the fields of medicine and laboratories.


Abraham Gebregiorgis has been the Essential Drugs and Medicines programme officer at the WHO Country Office in Ethiopia since 2010. Trained as a pharmacist, with a Masters in Pharmaceutical Services and Medicines Control, he is responsible for providing technical support to the Ministry of Health and its specialized agencies. Mr Abraham has also worked as a hospital medicines manager, medicine inspector, trainer, lecturer, director of planning and programmes manager in medicines regulation and drug abuse prevention and control. He has been president of the Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Association and a member of a regional advisory group to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in drug control and abuse prevention. He has served as a secretary and member of the Country Coordination Mechanism-Ethiopia, of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He is also a member of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework technical working groups.


Edith Andrews has been the WHO National Pharmaceutical Advisor in Ghana since 2003. She has an Master of Public Health and a Master of Science in pharmacy, as well as 10 years’ experience in hospital pharmacy and four years in district health administration. She collaborates intensively with all stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector, particularly the Ministry of Health.


Regina Mbindyo is a pharmacist with postgraduate training in business administration specializing in strategic management. Her work experience includes developing systems for warehousing, inventory management and quality assurance as operations manager for the Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS), and working in the Ministry of Health and the Kenya Medical Research Institute.


Before joining WHO as National Pharmaceutical Adviser in 2001, Minkaïla Djibrilla Maiga was the inaugural director of the National Regulatory Authority, from 2000 to 2007. From 1995 to 2000, he was the director of the Department for Pharmacy and Laboratory in the Ministry of Health. Between 1984 and 1995 he worked as regional pharmacist in Tombouctou, where he was in charge of the programme for vaccination and planning.


Ana Cristina Fernandes joined WHO Mozambique in May 2013. She is part of the Health Systems Strengthening Cluster, where she works on essential medicines and health products. She works closely with the Ministry of Health and other health partners, providing technical support in the area of selection, regulation, procurement, supply management and medicines quality control. She also represents WHO in the Medicines Working Group. Ms Fernandes is a pharmacist and graduated from Instituto Superior de Ciências e Tecnologia de Moçambique. Before joining WHO, she worked at the Maputo Institute of Health Science, and at Maputo Central Hospital.


Ogori Taylor was trained as a pharmacist, and has been the WHO National Pharmaceutical Adviser in Nigeria since 2001. Prior to joining WHO, she worked as a senior lecturer in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Biopharmacy of the College of Medicine at the University of Lagos.


Mamadou Ngom has been the WHO Pharmaceutical Adviser for Senegal since 2002. He was trained in pharmacy, with a diploma from the University of Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar. Before joining WHO he worked for the public sector. His main areas of expertise are the procurement and supply of medicines.


Joseph Ngobi Mwoga has been the WHO Pharmaceutical Adviser for Uganda since 2006. He trained as a pharmacist and holds a Master of Public Health. He has over 15 years’ experience in pharmaceutical logistics management in Uganda, from policy formulation to service delivery levels. He has worked on technical support and capacity building to government and partners, medicines delivery systems management and policy formulation, hospital and district health services and medicines delivery systems, and medicines regulation and quality assurance systems.

United Republic of Tanzania

Rose Shija has been the WHO National Pharmaceutical Adviser in the United Republic of Tanzania since 2002. She is a qualified pharmacist with postgraduate training in pharmaceutical sciences from Curtin University, Australia, and in community health and health management in developing countries from Heidelberg University, Germany. She has more than six years’ experience in procurement and supply management, 12 years in medicines regulation and five years at the Ministry of Health headquarters in policy formulation.