The 2018 recipient of the Jakes Gerwel Award was Dr Amir Aman Hagos, now the Minister of Health of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia who graduated with an MPH in 2013. Dr Amir registered for his MPH as a 25-year-old hospital director in one of the worst performing and poorly-resourced hospitals in a remote part of Ethiopia. He set about transforming it into a model hospital for the rest of the country through introducing pioneer governance and accountability systems, mobilising community, and promoting patient- centred care and primary health care.
During his studies Dr Hagos requested a transfer to the Ministry of Health’s human resources department (his area of MPH specialisation), from where he quickly moved from Director of Human Resources Development to Director General of Planning, Policy and Finance – then to State (Deputy) Minister. In May 2018 he was appointed Minister of Health.
Under his leadership the health sector has seen many significant successes, particularly in the area of maternal and child health and human resource development. The number of medical schools has increased from 13 to 32, the enrolment of medical student has grown from less than 1,000 in to 3,100 per annum, and an additional 9,000 health extension workers have been deployed throughout the country. Internationally, Dr Amir serves as co-chair of WHO’s Transforming International Health Partnership for Universal Health Coverage 2030 which is dedicated to building partnerships to strengthen health systems, and is a member of numerous related committees. He is also Board Chair of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Africa, and a Board member of Gavi Vaccine Alliance.