Photo Marielle Bemelmans

Mariëlle Bemelmans


“Our work with Wemos at the global level is relevant to the same issues as those I was confronted with during my years working in Africa: we address the underlying causes of why universal health coverage is not yet reached in many places in the world. What we see is that it is a political reality: economic interests too often win the race against interests of health, whilst health for all should absolutely have a much higher priority worldwide. Governments have both a national and a global responsibility in realizing the right to health.”

Mariëlle started as director at Wemos in April 2017. Since 2000, she has been working in global health, primarily holding coordinating positions at Doctors without Borders (MSF) in Africa. Next to two extended periods in Sudan and Malawi, she also has extensive work experience in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, DRC, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Zimbabwe. For 4 years, she held the position of country director at MSF in Malawi, after which she worked in health policy analysis and advocacy at the organization’s headquarters in Brussels.

Mariëlle obtained her master’s degree in Public Health at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Before that, she studied management and nursing at the University of Applied Sciences in Wageningen and Ede.

During her time in the southern region of Africa, she was challenged with ensuring access to long-term treatment for as many people living with HIV as possible during a health worker shortage crisis. She advocated better investment in health care and health workforce on both the national and global level. She also published articles on health systems, HIV/AIDS and health workforce in medical journals. This resulted in the completion of her PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2016.

Prior to her position as director at Wemos, Mariëlle worked as a Public Health Consultant, during which she did evaluations, research and had an advisory role at organizations like Oxfam, Red Cross, World Health Organization and the Royal Tropical Institute. In addition, she is a guest lecturer in global health at universities in Europe.

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