August 17, 2015
DAI is delighted to welcome Alueshima Utsaha as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Alueshima will work through September at DAI, focusing on Health governance and leadership in addition to, conducting desk research in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programming as well as how enhanced domestic resource mobilization could be used to bolster HIV programs in developing countries.
Now in its second year, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young leaders who are working to spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security.
Alueshima is a medical doctor who specializes in the areas of HIV/AIDS and child survival, working in urban and rural health facilities in North Central Nigeria. She is the deputy reproductive health coordinator at the Benue State Ministry of Health and is involved in the implementation of health programs centered on integrated management of neonatal and childhood illnesses and safe motherhood.
The YALI program has had a tremendous effect on Alueshima’s long-term career ambitions, she says. After six weeks at Florida International University for the academic component of the program where she completed the public management track, she now plans to shift her career focus from pediatrics to public health. “The major determinants of health aside genetic factors are socially rooted and we need to focus more on these to prevent disease rather than wait until patients are sick,” she said. After her time with DAI, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in public health.
Last year, DAI hosted a YALI fellow from Sierra Leone, Zainab Conteh, who assisted with several areas including monitoring and evaluation.