Check out our past events below.

20 May 2019: 72nd World Health Assembly Side Event



Muthoni Mate

Muthoni has a successful career in epidemiology with over a decade of progressive growth working with global institutions to support emerging disease management in the East African region. 

On 25th August 2016, she received a breast cancer diagnosis which sent her and those close into a tail spin but with time, this redefined her world view and reaffirmed her contribution in the battle against non-communicable diseases especially cancer. The process has crystalized the realities of the effect of lack of reliable simplified information, under resources and a fragmented healthcare system on the outcomes of a cancer diagnosis. 

September 2017, after completion of treatment, she founded The Cancer Café- an innovative platform that bridges the information gap between health care providers and their patients, caregivers and the general public over a cup of tea and healthy snacks. A positive space where difficult topics are discussed in a very informal laid-back setting. The Cancer Café is operational on a monthly basis and has expanded its primary target of those affected by cancer and has incorporated the ecosystem that manages the disease, from practitioners to networks and institutions. 

The Cancer Café model initiated in Nairobi has been scaled up and replicated in other counties such as Nyeri, Machakos with the scope also expanding from conversations to incorporation of activities such as food demonstrations to maintain nutritional gains, exercise and healthy living and economic empowerment. The cancer café also represents the voice of cancer survivors at the National Cancer Control Strategy technical working group and assisting in Monitoring, Evaluation and Research in partnership with National and county Cancer Control programs among other leadership roles in various capacities.

Muthoni is a member of the Rotary Club, a humanitarian group where she volunteers her time and expertise as a technical adviser to The Rotary Foundation under the Disease prevention and Treatment cadre.



Dr Joseph Kibachio, Head, Division of Non-Communicable Diseases, Ministry of Health, Kenya

Dr. Joseph Kibachio is the head of the Division of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) at the Ministry of Health in Kenya and leads public health policy on NCDs and their determinants. He is a medical doctor who specializes in NCD epidemiology, programming and policy issues in resource limited settings.

Dr. Kibachio has represented Kenya globally at the United Nations General Assembly, Conference of Parties (COP), the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and in numerous World Health Assemblies. He is part of the WHO Global Coordination Mechanism Working Group 3.1 to address the inclusion of NCDs into other public health programs. He was recognized by the UN Interagency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of NCDs for his outstanding contribution towards the NCD related Sustainable Development Goals at the third High-level Meeting on NCDs in September 2018.

He is an adjuvant lecturer of public health at Kenyatta and Moi Universities schools of public health in Kenya, and is a PhD scholar in Global Health at the University of Geneva. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health.


Joanna Ralston, Chief Executive Officer, World Obesity Federation 

Johanna Ralston has worked in global NCDs and their risk factors for over two decades.  She has served as CEO of World Obesity Federation since 2017, focusing on changing the narrative and elevating obesity on the global agenda.  From 2011-2016 Johanna served as CEO of World Heart Federation, the main CVD organization in official relations with WHO and a founder of NCD Alliance.  Johanna’s work included mobilizing the CVD community around the NCD agenda and WHO initiatives including the Global Action Plan on NCDs 2013-2020 and Global HEARTS, as well as a shared strategy to address rheumatic heart disease.  Johanna also served as Vice Chair, steering group member and Interim Director of NCD Alliance during that period, and led the communications strategy for the 2011 UN HLM and strategic planning for the second business plan.  From 1999 until 2011 Johanna was Vice President of Global Strategies at American Cancer Society, overseeing global advocacy and building the global capacity building program to strengthen community-based cancer and tobacco control in LMICs.  She is also a fellow at Geneva Centre for Security Policy, leading the course on global health security. 

A dual citizen of Sweden and the US, Johanna is an alumna of Harvard Business School and studied public health at Johns Hopkins, after a first degree in literature.   She serves on various committees and boards including Lung Cancer Alliance, the WEF Global Future of Health and Healthcare Council, and the WHO NCD Civil Society Working Group, the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Surgical Care, and the WHO Bloomberg NCD Business Case Expert Group.


Dialogue #1

Dr Luc Kuykens, MD, MPH, DTM, Senior Vice-President, Head Global Health Programs, CMO Office – Sanofi

Luc Kuykens is the current Head of Sanofi Global Health Programs reporting to the Chief Medical Officer of Sanofi. 

He started his career in public health in 1987: he worked in leprosy and tuberculosis control in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was Chief Medical Officer for Sierra Rutile Sierra Leone and Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Deschapelles, Haiti.

He joined the vaccine industry in 1997 as associate director of regulatory affairs for Merck and moved to Sanofi Pasteur, the human vaccines global business unit of Sanofi as vice president regulatory affairs for North America, in December 2001. He gradually increased his scope of responsibility and was nominated to the Sanofi Pasteur Chief Medical Officer position in 2011.

He received his medical degree from the University of Antwerp in 1986, a Diploma in Tropical Medicine from the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp in 1987 and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA in 1992.

Dr. Kuykens is a member of a number of regulatory and public health professional societies. He is a dual citizen of Belgium and the USA.

Dr. Fidiniaina Randriatsarafara, Director of General and Preventative Medicine, Ministry of Public Health Madagascar

Dr. Randriatsarafara specialized in public health with a preventive medicine option and has a master’s degree in microbiology. He works both in the military health service and the National Institute of Public and Community Health in Madagascar which is a training and research institute specialized in epidemiology. Dr. Randriatsarafara also teaches preventive medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of Antananarivo and supervises medical theses focused on maternal and child health. He also serves as the coordinator of the Confinement Committee in Madagascar focusing on polio eradication. In this role, he works with the Directorate of Immunization to support the analysis of the performance of the Expanded Program on Immunization. Dr. Randriatsarafara has also worked with the WHO as a national consultant to ensure an effective response to the cVDPV polio epidemic.


Dialogue #2

Dr. Frasia Karua, General Manager, Amref Enterprise

Dr. Frasia Karua is currently the General Manager of Amref Enterprises Limited, a subsidiary of Amref Health Africa; running a portfolio of social enterprises. Dr. Frasia has 10 years of experience in the health sector in Africa having held leadership positions in Pharmaceutical Industry, Health Insurance and Clinical Services. She is a medical doctor.

Dr. Frasia Karua is currently the General Manager of Amref Enterprises Limited a subsidiary of Amref Health Africa; running a portfolio of social enterprises. Dr. Frasia has 10 years of experience in the health sector in Africa having held leadership positions in Pharmaceutical Industry, Health Insurance and Clinical Services. She is a medical doctor with postgraduate training in Public Health, Business Administration and Organizational Development. Frasia is also a Leadership fellow of the Joanna Briggs Institute -Adelaide University and is currently undertaking research for her thesis to attain a Doctorate of Business Administration-Finance. She is also a member of the Expert Review Committee for the global Access to Medicine Index. Dr. Karua is an adjunct faculty at the School of public Health University of Nairobi.

Takanori Sato, Director, Trade Association and Regional Support, Global Public Affairs, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

Takanori Sato has 28 years experiences in the pharmaceutical industry and on different positions: Sales, Marketing, Business controller, Finance, Business Development, Company start up, Acquisition Integration.

He became Takeda’s Head of Public Affairs Supranational in April 2015. With the current role, he has promoted advocacy activities in the area of Global Health at International Federation of Pharmaceutical manufactures’ association (IFPMA) with World Health Organization, World Bank, Supranational NGOs as well as Japan Pharmaceutical manufactures’

association (JPMA) with Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and other government agencies.

Mr. Sato began his career in Takeda as sales reps, and then moved on to purchasing manager and distribution manager. He also worked at Division planning department of Japan pharma market where he leads and promoted several strategic projects for sales and marketing.  

After completing a master’s degree in the US, he worked for European affiliates in which he was managing the process of planning and controlling. After moving to London, he started up the European regional headquarters, and then opened new affiliates in Spain, Portugal, Nordics, Benelux and Turkey. He also planned and executed integration Nycomed acquisition for commercial functions then moved to Zurich where promoted territory expansion and special projects for Emerging Market developing business plans for new territories, collaborating with Areas and local operating companies, and coordinating with Headquarters functions.

Well respected in the Japanese pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Sato is an active member of Global Health Committee and Value and Access Committee of IFPMA and a leader of Value Group of Global Committee of JPMA. 

He graduated from Keio University in Japan with a B.A. degree in business and commerce in 1990 and obtained Master of Science in Management of Technology at MIT Sloan School in 2003.


Dialogue #3


Dr Dennis Odai Laryea MBChB MSc FGCP, NCD Control Program, Ghana Health Service

Dr Laryea the Programme Manager for Noncommunicable Diseases with the Ghana Health Service. He trained as a physician in Ghana and followed up with postgraduate trainings in Public Health in the UK and the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr Laryea has been a full time Public Health practitioner in Ghana since 2008. At the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital where he was the Head of the Public Health Unit from 2012 to 2016, he led a team that improved significantly, the practice practice of public health in a hospital setting through strong collaboration with clinical departments, strengthening of communicable and non-communicable disease surveillance and the development of human resource for public health. He has prior experience as an academic teaching Public Health for 7 years at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi Ghana from 2010 to 2017. As Programme Manager for NCDs in Ghana he is currently engaged in several activities aimed at prevention and control of NCDs in Ghana. His current areas of focus include NCD data quality assessment and improvement, leading in the review of Ghana’s Policy and Strategic Plan on NCDs and collaboration with several partners on improving NCD prevention and control. Dr Laryea is also a researcher with several publications in peer reviewed journals. He has made several scientific presentations at both local and international conferences.


Sarbani Chakraborty, Ph.D, Head, Health Systems Capacity, Roche

Sarbani Chakraborty is currently Head, Health Systems Capacity at F. Hoffman-La Roche. In this capacity, she is leading a team to drive public-private partnerships for outcomes-focused, quality health care systems. She and her team are leading global partnerships for Roche such as Access Accelerated and the City Cancer Challenge.  She joined Roche in May 2017 as Public Policy Leader for Region EEMEA (Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa).  Prior to joining Roche, Sarbani worked as Head of Global Health Policy for Merck, based in Darmstadt, Germany (2013 – 2016). Prior to joining the biopharmaceutical sector, Sarbani worked for 17 years with the World Bank as a Senior Health Specialist.  At the Bank, she worked on health financing, public expenditure management and universal health coverage covering countries in Europe and Central Asia, and the Asia-Pacific Region. Sarbani has a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management from Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is currently guest lecturer in global health policy and access to medicines at the Center for International Health, Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich.


AA/IFPMA Representatives:

James Pfitzer, Director, Access Accelerated

James Headen Pfitzer joined IFPMA as the Director of the global ‘Access Accelerated – Moving NCD Care Forward’ initiative in September 2017. Prior to joining IFPMA, James spent ten years at the World Health Organization (WHO) Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, where he handled strategy, engagement and policy for the Assistant Director Generals of Health Systems and Innovation and Global Health Security. Issues covered by James included AMR, pandemic preparedness, IHR, R&D, innovation, UHC, health systems strengthening, intergovernmental negotiations and consensus building. James also worked to implement capacity building activities at country and community levels and was appointed by the WHO Director General as the health advisor in the UN Secretary General’s Office in New York for the Post-2015 Development Agenda and adoption of the SDGs.

Prior to joining WHO, James was a Legal Officer at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland. James has written publications including analyses of the WTO dispute settlement system and potential reform with focus on burden of proof and standard of proof issues as well as those related to transparency and public participation. James is an American trained lawyer with an LLM in trade and development and holds a PhD in international law with a focus on due process protections in dispute settlement from the University of Bern, Switzerland.

Thomas Cueni, Director General, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA)

Thomas B. Cueni is Director General of IFPMA since 1 February 2017. Prior to joining IFPMA he was Secretary General of Interpharma, the association of pharmaceutical research companies in Switzerland. For many years Thomas Cueni has been involved in the work of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, EFPIA, where he most recently served as Vice-Chair of the European Markets Committee and association representative on the Board. He represented the industry on the EU High Level Pharmaceutical Forum, was Chairman of EFPIA’s Economic and Social Policy Committee and Chairman of the EFPIA Task Force on the EU Commission’s Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry. Thomas Cueni also represented Interpharma, which he successfully transformed from the association of Swiss Rx companies to the association of pharmaceutical research companies in Switzerland, on the Council of IFPMA.

Prior to his appointment with Interpharma, Thomas Cueni had a career as a journalist, inter alia as London correspondent for the “Basler Zeitung” and “Der Bund”, and he served as a Swiss career diplomat with postings in Paris (OECD) and Vienna (IAEA, UNIDO). He studied at the University of Basle, the London School of Economics, and the Geneva Graduate Institute for International Studies, and has Master degrees in economics (University of Basel) and politics (London School of Economics, LSE).


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