Dr. Mwele Malecela is a World Health Organization (WHO) Director in the Office of the Africa Regional Director and is the first woman to hold this position. She is also director of the Tanzania Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program. Dr. Malecela holds a Bsc in zoology from the University of Dar es Salaam and an Msc and PhD in parasitology from the University of London (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). She specialized in filarial immunology, specifically on filarial immune evasion mechanisms. Dr. Malecela has worked at the National Institute for Medical Research for 24 years, where she started off as a junior scientist. As director general, she has focused on institutional strengthening, research capacity building, and the translation of research into action, policy and practice.
Dr. Malecela has been in the forefront of priority setting for health research activities in Tanzania where she facilitated the Tanzania National Health Research Priority Setting process in 1999 and revision of these priorities in 2005. Dr. Malecela chairs the Medical Research Coordinating Committee (MRCC), which is the main body responsible for oversight of health research in the country. She has served on a number of international committees including the Technical Advisory Group of the Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, the Mectizan Expert Committee and the advisory board of the Initiative on Public?Private Partnerships in Health (IPPPH). Dr. Malecela is currently a member of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee for Neglected Tropical Diseases and a member of the Medicine in Need Steering Committee on Innovation, Alliance and Translation Management (MITAM). Dr. Malecela is also on the International Advisory Board of Grand Challenges Canada. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Public Health Sciences Institute of Morehouse College. Dr. Malecela was president of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis and chair of the representative contact group of the Alliance. She has also been involved in a number of philanthropic organizations, chairing the Tanzania Chapter of the African Reflections Foundation and is on the advisory board of the Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic. Dr. Malecela is patron and Founder of the IMANI Group, which is a support group of people living with HIV/AIDS.