Who We Are


Kimberly Baltzell is a Professor in the Department of Family Health Care Nursing at UCSF. In addition, she is the Director of Partnerships for UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences and a member of the UCSF Global Cancer Program. Dr. Baltzell is the PI, founder, and co-director of Global Action in Nursing (GAIN). She works extensively in sub-Saharan Africa to support the development of nurse leaders. Dr. Baltzell’s research interests include malaria, non-malarial fevers, and point-of-care diagnostic tools for health providers in remote locations. Her PhD work focused on infectious disease and cancer prevention/development – especially among women.

Daniel Maweu, is a nurse-midwife and co-director of GAIN in Liberia, Neno District Malawi, and Sierra Leone with Partners In Health. He is a reproductive health care educator with nine years of experience working in clinical midwifery, perioperative nursing, and nursing education. Daniel worked with Partners In Health, Liberia as a nurse-midwife coordinator/educator from 2018 to September 2021. In his co-director role, he is the PIH GAIN-Africa cross-site lead supporting nursing and midwifery workforce development initiatives. He has been vital in improving maternal and neonatal care at JJ Dossen Memorial Hospital and Pleebo Health Center through continuous mentorship of midwives in Southeastern Liberia. Daniel also works as a visiting obstetrics faculty member at the V.S William Tubman University School of Nursing where he played a key role in setting up the midwifery department. Daniel has worked in various institutions as a nurse midwife, perioperative nurse, and educator in both Kenya and Liberia. He holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Kenyatta University, a MSc in nursing (midwifery) from Mount Kenya University and an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in global maternal and child health from James Lind Institute, Switzerland. He is currently a second year student studying his Master of Public Health Policy and Research with University of Stirling, Scotland. He is also enrolled as an Atlas Corps fellow under the Hilton Humanitarian Prize Laureate Virtual Leadership Institute fellowship program. Daniel's biggest passion is building resilient maternal health systems and he is a strong advocate of respectful, dignified maternity care for all women in reproductive age.

Oveka Mwanza is a state-registered nurse-midwife and co-director of GAIN in Blantyre District, Malawi in partnership with Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA). In this role, she is the maternal, neonatal, child health (MNCH) coordinator for GAIN and GAIA. Oveka has vast experience working in the busiest maternity unit in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and held the position of Safe Motherhood Coordinator for the capital of Malawi. She possesses a Bachelor of Science in nursing and midwifery and a Master of Science in global health delivery from the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda. She is also an author of a labor, delivery, and early parenthood preparedness audiobook that empowers expectant couples with the knowledge and skills to transition smoothly through this aspect of their lives. Currently, Oveka is the principal investigator in a research study that aims to improve the referral process for obstetric emergencies, a midwife-led approach in Blantyre, Malawi under the GAIN project.


Alden BlairAlden Blair is the Associate Director of the Global Health Sciences (GHS) Masters Program at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He holds a PhD with a focus on mix-methods epidemiology from the School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and an MS in environmental epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He has almost two decades of professional experience working across sub-Saharan Africa, including NIH-funded research projects exploring the intersection of mental health, substance use, and communicable disease among conflict-affected populations. He helps lead the GAIN epidemiological teams to ensure the fidelity, applicability, and transfer-ability of the information gleaned from our partnerships.

Madhavi Dandu is the Education Advisor for GAIN where she supports the development of on-line learning materials and quality improvement initiatives. She also serves as the director Director of the University of California Global Health Institute—a UC-wide initiative that stimulates, nurtures, and promotes global health research, education, and collaboration to advance the University’s global health agenda. Madhavi received her undergraduate degree in comparative literature and biomedical sciences and then a medical degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She completed her residency training in the Categorical Medicine Program at UCSF in 2003. Afterwards, Dr. Dandu attended the University of California, Berkeley and received a Master of Public Health with a focus on international health and health and human rights. In addition she continues to collaborate with colleagues and community-based partners on cultural humility training and initiatives focused on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. She is also a hospitalist and Professor of Medicine at UCSF.

Patricia Efe Azikiwe is the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Clinical Program Manager at Partners In Health, Sierra Leone. Patricia is a nurse, midwife, nurse/midwife educator, and public health officer with special interest in health programs, like GAIN, that support maternal and newborn health through mentoring of health care providers. She is known as one of the pioneers of the Mother–To–Mother Support Initiative that aims to improve exclusive breastfeeding in Benin-City, Nigeria through capacity building of hospital staff and community engagement. Patricia holds multiple degrees in nursing, midwifery, and public health with over 25 years of experience. She has worked in various capacities such as head of nursing and midwifery colleges, nurse/midwife specialist, UNFPA nurse/midwife clinical training advisor, and health and nutrition program manager. Her work has spanned countries such as Nigeria, Gambia, Laos, South Sudan, and Bangladesh. Patricia also holds certificates in leadership and people’s management, emergency preparedness and disaster nursing, quality and health system strengthening, and OnePIH social medicine.

Gladys Jepkogei works for Partners In Health, Sierra Leone as an M&E specialist for GAIN. Gladys has over 7 years of professional experience; 5+ years working for international NGOs in research and implementation of monitoring and evaluation systems. Prior to joining Partners In Health, Gladys served as a Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL) Officer at Danish Refugee Council. Her tenure of 2 years was marked by the design, development, and management of databases, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, project indicators, and logical frameworks for donor-funded projects while ensuring data quality and efficient communication systems. She previously worked as a MEAL Coordinator for Village Enterprise, MEAL Officer II with Nuru International Kenya, Data Assistant with Beacon’s Consulting Group Limited and interned at National Council for Population and Development in Kenya. Gladys holds an M.Sc in epidemiology and biostatistics and a bachelor’s degree in applied statistics with computing. She has successfully executed baseline studies and evaluations in GBV, child protection, livelihoods, peace building, health, and education. She has a keen interest in quality data, inferential analysis, and reporting for timely feedback and evidence-based decision-making by stakeholders.

Sitalire Kapira is an experienced clinician and a maternal and child health specialist working with Partners in Health/Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo in Neno district, Malawi. Sitalire works as a clinician responsible for maternal health and through the training and mentoring of staff on maternal and child health initiatives. He also supports health programs that improves infrastructure, supply chain, systems, and clinical tools in Neno district. Sitalire holds a Bachelor of Science with honors in international obstetrics and leadership from Warwick University and a Master of Medical Science in global health delivery from Harvard University. Kapira’s master’s thesis work focused on assessing barriers adolescent girls face when accessing contraceptive services in rural Malawi. The greatest passion of Sitalire is to develop and implement health programs like GAIN that lead to better health outcomes and to conduct research to bring evidence for decision making.

Viola Karanja is a nurse midwife with 30 years of experience. Currently, she is working with Partners In Health in Liberia as Deputy Executive Director. Viola holds a Diploma in nursing and midwifery, Diploma in counselling psychology, a bachelor's degree in nursing, a master's in managerial psychology, and she is a Florence Nightingale Fellow. Viola has worked at various capacities and in different countries such as: Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan and currently in Liberia. She has over 15 years of experience in leadership, 10 years experience as a cardiac nurse, and 3 years’ experience in midwifery. Viola’s passion is to mentor junior nurses into leadership as the future of nursing depends on nursing leadership. 

Ashley Mitchell (she/her) is the Research Data Analyst for Global Action in Nursing (GAIN). She is a Global Health Sciences doctoral student at UCSF with a Master of Public Health from the University of Minnesota and a Certificate in perinatal education from the Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery. Ashley has more than a decade of experience in reproductive and health equity program design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation among marginalized groups. In addition to leveraging data that illuminates and illustrates inequitable practices, policies, systems, or structures surrounding childbirth, she is motivated to promote community-based solutions that are more effective, respectful, and comprehensive.

Mc Geofrey Mvula is a nurse educator. He received Bachelor of Science in nursing and midwifery (2012) from University of Malawi, Kamuzu College of Nursing, and further specialized in nursing and midwifery education (2017-2019) from University of Malawi. He has worked as ward manager in maternal and neonatal department at Zomba Central Hospital in Malawi for over five years and held a lecturer position in the Department of Midwifery at Malawi College of Health Sciences in Zomba for two years. Currently he is working for Partners in Health (PIH) as GAIN neonatal nurse mentor for Neno district. His profession encompasses clinical care, mentorship, supervision, training, and monitoring and evaluation.

Nelson Ntemang'ombe MwaleNelson Ntemang'ombe Mwale is a Malawian nurse midwife and a GAIN midwife mentor. Prior to becoming a midwife, Nelson studied at Blantyre Teachers Training College and graduated with a Certificate in initial primary teacher education (IPTE) in 2007. He worked as a primary school teacher for three years before enrolling in Kamuzu College of Nursing at the University of Malawi.  Nelson graduated in 2015 with a BSc in nursing and midwifery. Nelson was part of the first training cohort in Neno district and is now working as a mentor to other nurse midwives in the district. His work in Malawi including working in the operating room at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, maternity in-charge at Neno District Hospital, and Safe Motherhood Coordinator for the district. Nelson has been recognized twice as best midwife in the district and has represented Malawian nursing at international meetings.

Merab Nyishime is a registered nurse currently working with Partners In Health in Liberia as a neonatal nurse specialist. Before joining Partners In Health in Liberia, Merab served as MCH Associate Director, Deputy Nursing Director, Mentor of Mentors in Rwanda and neonatal expert with Médecin Sans Frontière in Central African Republic. She is known as one of the pioneers of the “All Babies Count” Initiative that aims to reduce neonatal mortality in Rwanda through capacity building and implementing quality improvement projects at the national level. Merab holds a bachelor’s degree in clinical medicine and community health from the University of Rwanda and a Master of Science in global health delivery from the University of Global Health Equity, Rwanda. Merab has extensive experience in maternal and child health at a national and international level. She published “A retrospective study of neonatal case management and outcomes in rural Rwanda” in BMC Pediatrics and developed numerous online videos on neonatal care via Pediatrics open access website. Merab has also co-authored other neonatal research papers and presented abstracts in the US and sub-Saharan Africa. She is devoted to coaching and mentoring clinicians in maternal child health case management and quality improvement.

Miranda Rouse is the Program Manager of Global Action in Nursing (GAIN). She has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Drexel University and a Master of Public Health from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to pursuing her master’s degree, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Northwestern Province, Zambia from 2018-2020. While in Zambia, she collaborated on activities related to maternal and child health and nutrition, family planning awareness, and HIV and malaria prevention. She is passionate about reproductive justice and access to reproductive health services, especially for adolescents and vulnerable populations. Her research interests include global reproductive health, maternal and child health, and gender equity.

Marshall Sackey is a registered nurse in Liberia and holds associate and bachelor degrees in nursing, and currently pursuing his master's in healthcare management. He has over eight years of experience as a clinical nurse, and has worked with the Liberian Ministry of Health in more than 6 counties to strengthen staff capacity and deliver quality health services. Currently Marshall is working as a Senior Pediatric and Neonatal Clinical Mentor at Partners In Health in Liberia, Maryland county. He has gained valuable clinical knowledge in different departments and hopes to improve his leadership skills. He is working to integrate evidence-based practice in advanced clinical leadership and promote advanced nursing practices in hard-to-reach areas in Liberia. He is motivated by working with the underserved and vulnerable populations.

Mphatso SayendaMphatso Sayenda is a registered nurse-midwife working in Neno district, Malawi and is employed by Partners in Health as a GAIN nurse-midwife mentor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and midwifery from Kamuzu College of Nursing. She worked as a midwife in charge of Lisungwi Community Hospital and received an award for best midwife in organizing the ward, leading the maternity team, and improving the quality of midwifery care. As a GAIN mentor, she is responsible for mentoring midwives in four Neno district facilities. Mphatso mentors on the use of the Safe Childbirth Checklist, modeling and teaching basic obstetric care, and developing quality improvement projects based on the needs or gaps identified in GAIN facilities. She is also involved at a national level in the adaptation and adoption of the Safe Childbirth Checklist countrywide. In addition, she is working to reinforce infection prevention protocols in the clinical setting to improve obstetric outcomes, and emergency obstetric care and response.

Luseshelo Fanny Simwinga is a state registered nurse midwife with vast experience in bedside maternal and newborn care. Luseshelo holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing and midwifery from the University of Malawi Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN), and is currently finalizing her Master of Science in nursing and midwifery education. She has worked in the public sector at Ntchisi District Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital as a bedside midwife and a nurse/midwife leader. She previously worked as a District Safe Motherhood Coordinator, Maternal and Neonatal Health Quality Improvement Team Leader, and Quality of Institutionalized Care (QIC) focal person. She is one of 10 midwives under the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Young Midwife Leaders (YML) program for the 2019 – 2020 cohort, where she is being trained in leadership and mentorship among other trainings. Luseshelo is a provider and trainer in quality improvement, specialized newborn care education, Helping Babies Breathe (2nd edition), essential care of every baby, and essential care for small babies. She is also a champion, provider and trainer in Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) and as a YML with ICM, she is working on a project which aims at promoting RMC at Ntchisi District Hospital in the central region of Malawi.