Hon. Tolbert G. Nyenswah, LL.B, M.P.H.
Deputy Health Minister of Liberia on Ebola
||Tolbert Nyenswah currently serves as the first Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, an entity, which was officially established on January 26, 2017, to prevent and control public health threats, post the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic, that devastated Liberia’s public health system and resulted in over 11,000 cases with close to 5,000 deaths in Liberia alone.
Prior to his appointment as Director General, Hon. Nyenswah became Liberia’s first Deputy Minister of Health for Disease Surveillance and Epidemic Control, in the Dept. of Public Health, which was created within the Ministry of Health, after the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first declaration that Liberia was free of Ebola in the human population. He had been appointed Incident Manager of the Incident Management System, responsible for leading Liberia’s National Ebola Response activities.
Mr. Nyenswah has worked in the public health sector in Liberia for the past eighteen years in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, now Ministry of Health, in several capacities, beginning as an office assistant in 1999. Since then, he rose to the position of Assistant Minister of Health and Deputy Chief Medical Office for Preventive Services, (2012-2015), responsible for the prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, as well as, mental health. Before assuming this position, he was the Deputy Program Manager of the National Malaria Control Program (2007-2011), overseeing the coordination of malaria control and prevention activities, formulating policies and implementation strategies. He also served concurrently, as the Acting Program Manager for two years (2009-2011).
As Acting and Deputy Program Manager, he was a senior malaria specialist, overseeing the nationwide distribution of millions of bed nets and the effective treatment of millions of malaria cases in Liberia. Under his leadership, malaria prevalence was substantially reduced from 66 percent in 2005 to 28 percent by 2011. Nyenswah was instrumental in the development of the first National Health Policy and National Health Plan for Liberia in 2007.
Tolbert Nyenswah has received several distinguished service awards. In March, 2017, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented him with an Honor and Award Certificate from the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. He was honored with the first Bloomberg Hopkins Emerging Leader Award, on September 19, 2016. This award was established by Bloomberg Philanthropies, in honor of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Centennial celebration, to recognize a student or alumni with the potential to impact public health on a large scale for years to come. He also received the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award from Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association in 2015, a distinction from amongst over 20,000 alumni globally. Additionally, Johns Hopkins University, Master of Public Health program, graced him with a Certificate of Recognition, in 2011.
In 2015, Nyenswah was awarded one of the Liberia’s highest honors, the Grand Commander, Order of the Star of Africa, by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, during Liberia’s 168th independence day anniversary, for his service as the Incident Manager, who coordinated the Incident Management System, that brought the Ebola crisis under control in Liberia. Also in 2015, he received the Golden Image Award, from Crusaders for Peace, a non-governmental organization in Liberia.
Tolbert Nyenswah obtained the following degrees and certificates: Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A. (2012), Bachelor of Law degree (LL.B), Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia, Monrovia Liberia (2009); Bachelor of Science (Biology and Chemistry), University of Liberia, Monrovia Liberia (2006). Certificates/ (postgraduate diploma): Public Health Surveillance and Population Disease Control; Health & Human Rights, Public Health Law, Malaria in Pregnancy, Global Mental Health, among others.