Miriam K. Were, born 1940 in Kenya; Kenyan citizen; Doctor of Public Health, Health Planning and Management 1981, Johns Hopkins University, USA; Co-founder and Health Specialist UZIMA Foundation, Kenya.
For the past 40 years, Were has dedicated her life to advancing the health and welfare of the people of Africa through a focus on the practicalities of delivering service at a local level. She has united communities to develop and implement innovative solutions to quotidian health problems. The most illustrious example of her community-based approach is her ongoing work to build public toilet facilities in local communities, improving hygiene and overcoming longstanding taboos. She also drastically raised the infant vaccination rate by organizing children into small groups to visit local clinics. Her innovation and systemic precedents have had enduring impacts not only in Kenya but throughout the East African region and across the entire continent, through her engagement with the African Union and as a key health advisor to the African Heads of State on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.