Today, the Stop TB Partnership is saddened by the loss of two formidable partners, human beings and TB warriors – Ayodele Awe of Nigeria and Lucie Blok of the Netherlands.
Dr. Ayodele Awe died suddenly after a short illness. He was one of the pioneering members of Stop TB Partnership Nigeria. Dr. Awe served as the First Vice-Chair from 2015 to 2019 and Board Chair from 2019-2022. He was the Assistant Director of Public Health at the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria and became a National Professional Officer for Tuberculosis at the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition to his support to the Nigerian TB program, he also supported TB Programs across Africa in the fight to end Tuberculosis, working with many of us on different country missions and program reviews.
Dr. Ayodele Awe was one of the longest-serving TB officers in Nigeria. He was involved in all aspects of the TB response, guideline development, M&E, supervision, training and policy formulation. His passion to end TB in Nigeria was unparalleled. His contributions to people suffering from the disease and the TB community at large will be remembered and celebrated.
Dr. Lucie Blok passed away peacefully in the presence of her beloved husband after a lengthy battle with cancer. Lucie worked at MSF delivering medical care and treatment to vulnerable populations early in her career, then becoming the medical director at MSF Holland. For more than 15 years, she worked as a Senior Advisor Health Systems at the KIT Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, where she formulated public health policies and implementation strategies, advised on organizational and institutional development, translated health policy into practice. She was an expert in program reviews and quality assurance and in strengthening health systems and disease control programs, particularly for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. During her term, Dr. Blok chaired the Technical Review Panel of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and was a strong advocate for new policies and bold ideas.
In addition to her work with the Global Fund, Dr. Blok led KIT’s M&E team for the TB REACH initiative at Stop TB Partnership. She participated in WHO guideline development work for TB active case finding, developed and published the methodology for monitoring and evaluating such efforts, and assisted our partners to strengthen their programs to better serve people with TB. She was an amazing colleague and friend. She had a wealth of knowledge and experience she was always willing to share, was open to new ideas and learning, and was continually available to help.
We want to share our deepest sympathies with grieving families, friends, and colleagues.