Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health


Professor Miriam Were

Miriam Were is currently the Chancellor of Moi University, Kenya and a member of the Global Health Workforce Alliance.

Her career path includes working for the University of Nairobi Faculty of Medicine, the Ministry of Health in Kenya, UNICEF as Chief of Health and Nutrition in the Ethiopia, Representative of the World Health Organisation in Ethiopia and Director of the UNFPA for the Technical Advisory Team (Country Support Team) for East, Central and Anglophone West Africa from which she retired in 2000. Since retirement, Miriam Were has continued to be professionally involved in the health sector. At the core of her professional life has been improvement of MCH services for all. In Africa, where the majority of mothers and children live in communities, she chose the Community-Based Health Care focus which she has maintained to date.

Since 2000, Professor Were has been a member of various high-level groups, including the UNDP-based Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2009–present); Champions for an HIV-Free Generation (2008–present), chaired by the former president of Botswana and consisting mostly of former Heads of State; the International Award Committee of Thailand’s Prince Mahidol Award Foundation (2008–present); the African Medical and Research Foundation (Chair, 2003–2009); the Kenya’s National AIDS Control Council (Chair by Presidential appointment, 2003–2009); the Kenya Medical Women’s Association (Founder Chairman, 1983); Board of Directors of MAP International Board in Georgia, USA (2003-2011); Kenya’s Community Health Strategy (Advisor/Consultant, 2010–present). Since co-sponsoring the youth-focused UZIMA Foundation in 1995, Professor Were has championed the importance of reaching and involving adolescents in the management of their sexuality and fertility.

Miriam Were obtained her degree in Medicine from the University of Nairobi, and her MPH and PhD from Johns Hopkins University. She has received a number of prestigious honours, including the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize by Japan (2008) for work on expansion of medical services for Mothers and Children; the Queen Elizabeth II Gold Medal for Outstanding Contributions to International Public Health; Knight in the Legion of Honour in the French National Order for distinguished service in health and development in Africa with particular emphasis on mothers children and youth; as well as Community Health Strategy Goodwill Ambassador, Kenya (2011). She has been awarded honorary doctorates from multiple universities in Kenya.