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Meet the 2020 STAR-Supported USAID Washington GH Foreign Service Nationals

STAR Foreign Service Nationals pose for a photo during a visit to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

STAR bolsters the USAID/Washington’s Global Health FSN Fellowship Program, by providing developmental opportunities for USAID FSNs to apply their technical knowledge and professional work experience during their temporary rotational assignments in USAID/W. While the Fellowship duration in Washington is approximately 8 weeks, STAR coordinates a six-month professional development experience with cohort-based learning activities pre- and post- rotation. This longitudinal engagement in learning and professional development aims to increase knowledge and skill acquisition during the Fellowship, and foster engagement/collaboration both across the FSN peer network and a broader GH professional network.

Here's what our FSNs had to say about their experience (via anonymous survey):

"The visit to the Hill was a life time opportunity but also helped me appreciate the rigors of getting the GH budget approved amidst competing demands. The GH Diplomacy sessions helped me to appreciate the vital role we play in promoting both host country and USG strategic interests. The Effective Communication sessions have given me skills that are vital for improving my brand and also telling my story (elevator speech)."

"The Global Diplomacy session was very informative, as we are technical people and we hardly get involved in such discussions in our Missions. So it was another very good opportunity."

"All of the learning sessions were highly relevant and proved effective in my professional life."

"I began applying my learning experience to my work the moment I returned to my Mission. My understanding of public health diplomacy greatly improved my engagement and relationship with my supervisor, as well as the mission senior management team."

Read on to learn about STAR's 2020 FSN cohort:


Role: Health Systems Strengthening Team Leader
Home Mission: USAID/Uganda
Host Office: OHS
Years at USAID: 20

Mr. Andrew Kyambadde has worked with the USAID/Uganda Mission, joining the HIV/AIDS team at its inception. Over the years at USAID, his
experience has included integrated healthcare and technical assistance support across decentralized service delivery, workplace, private health sector, conflict/post-conflict settings and health systems strengthening.

While working with the Office of Health Systems (OHS) team in Washington, Andrew was involved in the preparation and also attended the first health systems strengthening course organized by the OHS, contributed to the development of the framework for the common approach to health financing, contributed to the thinking on how to operationalize the "Joint Collaboration Structure" envisioned for OHS projects, and also contributed to the development of the 'Learning Agenda" - key initiatives that will support field missions and partners.


Role: Technical Advisor, Health Systems Strengthening
Home Mission: USAID/India
Host Office: OHS
Years at USAID: 5

Dr. Jain is a clinician with formal training in public health and about 10 years of experience working in various capacities within the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. She works on universal health coverage with a special focus on comprehensive primary care, urban health, and human resources for health.


Role: Health Systems Strengthening Senior Advisor
Home Mission: USAID/Madagascar
Host Office: OHS
Years at USAID: 4

Dr. Razafindrafito has extensive public health experience including serving as the Executive Secretary of the National AIDS Committee in Madagascar, in charge of strategies and operations, as well as engaging with high-level government officials, NGOs, and faith-based organizations in developing multi-sectoral approaches to public health programs.

During the four weeks of the fellowship with the Office of Health Systems (OHS) in Washington, Haja contributed to the preparation of the Health Systems Strengthening core course and co-facilitated the session on quality regulation. He was involved in the development of the HSS vision and the review of key documents related to health financing, HSS learning agenda. He enriched the interaction with the OHS team by sharing the field perspectives and his personal experiences.


Role: Project Management Specialist (TB and Health System Strengthening)
Home Mission: USAID/Burma
Host Office: OHS
Years at USAID: 6

Dr. Htoo is a physician with experience working in the areas of program and project management such as monitoring and evaluation, training development and implementation, behavior change activities (for both clients and provider), and communication in many health
programs such as family planning, TB, HIV, malaria, childhood pneumonia, and diarrhea.

During his Fellowship at Office of Health System, Global Health Bureau in Washington D.C, Dr. Htoo contributed to improving the HSS Training Course sessions and participated as a panelist in Equity discussion, contributed the important perspectives to the development of the HSS Learning Agenda and the HSS Vision; and provided technical input to a range of strategic documents related to quality, health finance, and governance; and much more based on his experiences.


Role: Malaria Specialist
Home Mission: USAID/Guinea
Host Office: Malaria

Dr. Bangoura is a physician with extensive experience in the medical, cultural, and political sphere, especially in the development and implementation of health programs. Lamine served as a medical doctor for
over 11 years in hospitals and private clinics in Conakry.

During his Fellowship at the GH/PMI office, Dr. Bangoura was able to acquire a deeper understanding of how the agency works from Washington and gain complementary skills in PMI planning, monitoring and evaluation and reporting, budgeting, surveillance, and data-driven decision-making. The complementary professional development offered through STAR also provided rich experiential learning including a visit the Hill to participate in the USAID Administrator 2021 budget hearing, as well as participating in an interactive Global Health Diplomacy discussion.


Role: Deputy Health Office Director
Home Mission: USAID/Malawi
Host Office: PRH
Years at USAID: 15

Ms. Banda is a Health Development Assistance Specialist with over 30 years’ experience in senior-level management of public health programs in Malawi. As Deputy Health Office Director for USAID/Malawi, Lilly has demonstrated experience as a senior level leader, co-managing the largest and most complex multi-million dollar portfolio within the USAID/Malawi Mission. She excels in management and leadership, in guiding strategic engagement with the Ministry of Health and advancing USAID and USG priorities through direction of the USAID health portfolio from both design and implementation standpoint.

While working with the Policy, Evaluation and Communication Division of PRH office in Washington, Lilly provided a field perspective to support the Division’s conceptualization and design of new activities and contributed to the development of data collection tools (questionnaires for Key Informant Interviews and survey questions) as a first step in activity design co-creation process for new projects focusing on policy, advocacy, financing, and governance; Lilly also supported the Global Health (GH) Bureau’s flagship health policy project, Health Policy Plus (HP+) as a member of the USAID management team.


Role: Family Planning and Reproductive Health Specialist
Home Mission: USAID/Liberia
Host Office: PRH
Years at USAID: 7

Ms. Bernard-Sawyer is an experienced Public Health Specialist with over 16 years of experience and a demonstrated history of working in the international affairs industry. With a master's degree in Public Health, she is skilled in the management of non-governmental organizations, grants management, epidemiology, reproductive health, health promotion, and the managements of health systems in low-to-middle-income countries. She developed the love for public health while responding to medical emergencies as a humanitarian Aid worker in affected countries in Africa.

As a Fellow working with the Commodity Supply and Logistics (CSL) Division of the Office of Population Reproductive Health within the Global health Bureau, Pamela expanded her network with global supply chain leaders and technical experts with a focus on the management of reproductive health commodities as well as the logistics/supply chain management activities across a variety of health programs. This experience fine-tuned her technical and analytical skills in supporting national and international stakeholders in the area of reproductive health commodity security and logistics. Pamela’s knowledge of USAID procurement mechanisms as well as the overall role of the Global Health Supply Chain project in supporting host country governments in achieving supply chain technical independence was further strengthened. She currently plays a major role in strengthening reproductive health commodity security in her home country Liberia.


Role: Deputy Team Leader - Family Health Team
Home Mission: USAID/Uganda
Host Office: PRH
Years at USAID: 13

Ms. Ssempebwa is an experienced development and public health specialist with over 30 years’ experience in the management of complex health and development programs in Uganda. Her areas of technical expertise include HIV/AIDS, maternal health, family planning, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and gender programming. She has vast experience in RH/FP and HIV/AIDS policies and guidelines development, resource mobilization and networking with donors and the public sector.

Rhobbinah actively worked with the HIPS team and took the lead on setting up broad guidelines contributing to an in-depth analysis of the quality and scale of selected service delivery HIPS (namely Postpartum Family planning mobile outreaches and integrating FP in immunization services), in at least 3 countries, including Uganda. This exercise will greatly inform the HIPS team at both the global and mission level on how these practices are being implemented and measured.


Role: Advisor – Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning
Home Mission: USAID/India
Host Office: PRH
Years at USAID: 4

Dr. Subrato Kumar Mondal is a highly skilled health M&E specialist. He has a PhD in Population Studies and 24 years of experience in academic research, public health research and operation research in the field of human development, demography, reproductive health & rights, and
health care financing.

Dr. Mondal found the Global Health Diplomacy session highly impactful. It was fascinating to hear lessons from veteran diplomats. It will be extremely helpful while engaging with host country counterparts and other stakeholders. This is more pertinent when dealing with very strong government counterparts. Additionally, the pioneer class of the one-week Health System Strengthening training (HSS) was an eye-opening. The key takeaway message was irrespective of what technical area one is focusing on, we are working in one heath system, and therefore, it is important that all technical areas work together to build a system that can withstand shocks.