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Dr Ferew Lemma

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1961 - 2021

Dr Ferew Lemma, friend, colleague and ENN Board of Trustees member, died unexpectedly on Christmas Day. This is a huge loss for his family and friends, for Ethiopia and for the global nutrition community.

Dr Ferew was a public health physician with a PhD in Public Health Nutrition from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He had a long and illustrious career working in various capacities in higher education teaching/learning, health service delivery and management as well as research. He started his career with government service in the Regional Health Bureau and as a faculty member of Jimma University School of Public Health before moving to the UK in 1998 to study for his PhD. Upon its completion, he worked at London’s South Bank University for eight years as a Senior Research Fellow then relocated back to Ethiopia in 2010 to act as Senior Nutrition Advisor to the Minister for Health, including serving as an advisor to the (former) First Lady of Ethiopia. As testament to how much he was respected on the international stage, he also occupied many important advisory positions such as being a member of the Independent Expert Group of the Global Nutrition Report.

ENN’s partnership with Dr Ferew started in 2010 as we embarked on the year-long process of organising the CMAM conference in Addis Ababa, held in November 2011. The aim of this conference was to provide the space for government voices and experience to be front and centre – something that had not been done in previous international CMAM meetings. Dr Ferew immediately saw the potential and became our key partner – helping us to navigate all the many hurdles we needed to jump to deliver this large, reputation-making event and he was integral to its success. His blend of knowledge and experience, spanning both the Ethiopian and the global context, meant that he instinctively understood what the crucial elements to success were, who it was critical to engage with and how to navigate the many different organisations, agendas and priorities. Among his many other duties he continued to be closely involved in the rollout of CMAM in Ethiopia where millions of severely wasted children have been successfully treated over the past decade, more about which can be read here

Dr Ferew continued to be a great friend to ENN and we were thrilled when he agreed to join our Board of Trustees just over a year ago. He brought depth and gravitas to the position, along with the much-needed country-level perspective. He was always so willing to help us – our ‘go-to’ person for anything – no matter the subject, always the first person that we thought to ask. For all his immense experience and knowledge, no question or topic was ever too small for him; a truly humble giant of nutrition. He was proud to be associated with ENN and we can safely say that our growth over the past decade has in no small part been due to his substantial contributions.

What a privilege it has been to have his support and friendship. We send our deepest condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

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Dr Ferew Lemma. Field Exchange 67, April 2022. p4. www.ennonline.net/fex/67/drferewlemmafex

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