Dr. Mukesh Kapila

Dr Kapila is a senior public and global health specialist. He has medical and postgraduate qualifications in medicine and public health from the Universities of Oxford and London.

He is chief executive of The Defeat-NCD Partnership. He has extensive experience in the policy and practice of international development, global health, diplomacy, disaster and conflict management, human rights and humanitarian affairs. Dr Kapila also holds the position of Professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs, University of Manchester.

Previously, he was undersecretary general at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Earlier in his career, Dr Kapila served the United Nations in different roles as special adviser at the UN Mission in Afghanistan, and then special adviser to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. He also had a spell at the World Bank. Subsequently, he led the UN’s largest country mission in 2003-4 as the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator for the Sudan, before becoming a director at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

Prior to working at the UN, Dr Kapila was at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Overseas Development Administration (subsequently Department for International Development), initially as a senior health and population adviser and later as the first head of a new Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department that he set up.

His earliest career was in clinical medicine, primary health care, and public health in the British National Health Service in Oxford, Cambridge, and London, where he helped set up the UK’s first national HIV and AIDS programme at the Health Education Authority, becoming its deputy director.

Other roles have included Chair of Minority Rights Group International, Chair of Nonviolent Peaceforce, and Special Adviser to the 2016 UN World Humanitarian Summit. Awards and honours include a CBE from Queen Elizabeth II, the Global Citizenship Award of the Institute for Global Leadership, the “I Witness!” award for human rights, and a special resolution of the California State Legislature for “lifetime achievements and meritorious service”. His memoir “Against a Tide of Evil” was nominated for the CWA’s 2013 “Best Non-Fiction Book”. His next book is provisionally entitled “The Kindness of Strangers”.

Dr Kapila is based in Geneva.

Mukul Bhola

Mukul Bhola has more than 17 years of experience as a passionate humanitarian and development practitioner. Specializing in leading crisis response operations, partnership development and resource mobilisation, he manages The Defeat-NCD Partnership’s global operations–including the development and roll-out of The Defeat-NCD Partnership Marketplace, and its Innovative Financing Facility, for resource-poor countries.

Prior to co-founding The Defeat-NCD Partnership, Mukul headed the Geneva Liaison Office for the Partnerships Group at UNOPS and was also responsible for managing the UNOPS-DFID partnership–growing it to an unprecedented US $250 million of new programmes signed in 2018. Mukul began his UN career with UNIC in New Delhi in 2000, before moving on to work with UNDP on the Gujarat Earthquake recovery programme, and subsequently its Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery. He co-led–on behalf of the ILO–four joint UN-World Bank post-disaster needs assessments to Bangladesh, Haiti, Madagascar, and Myanmar, and while at ILO was seconded to UNISDR to develop the first biennial joint work programme for the strengthened UNISDR system.

With a first-class honours degree in economics, Mukul is highly experienced in working with big data. He spent over five years at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, where he set up the Federation-wide Databank and Reporting System, and established Everyone Counts–IFRC’s annual flagship publication on the results of 189 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies. There he also held varied roles in strategy and programme development in both Switzerland and Kenya, as well as serving as head of operations for the Ebola reponse based in Guinea during 2014/2015.

Mukul is a volunteer and life member of the Indian Red Cross and in 2017 he was requested to support the co-development of their transformational Strategy 2030.

Born in Mauritius, Mukul is married and speaks English, French, German, Hindi and Punjabi.

Dr. Gaurav Kumar

Dr. Gaurav Kumar is a senior public health professional with over a decade of experience working with national and state governments, providing advice and support in designing and implementing a variety of public health solutions in the areas of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), tobacco control, tuberculosis and polio surveillance.

With a focus on health system strengthening and supporting governments in low-resource countries for scaling up action on NCDs, Dr. Kumar is especially interested in hypertension control. In an earlier assignment, he led the India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHMI) in Punjab and Madhya Pradesh launching the intervention in focus states in India.

Dr. Kumar started his career in public health as Surveillance Medical Officer (SMO) in the WHO-National Polio Surveillance Project in one of the worst affected districts. He later held challenging managerial positions in USAID, BMGF and Global Fund projects. As Program Manager for Global Fund’s project ‘Axshya’ with one of the grant recipients, he led a team of over 200 personnel in 62 districts and seven states for community-based intervention coupled with private sector engagement. Dr. Kumar’s program management strengths include developing frameworks for smooth and effective coordination between technical, finance and administrative teams.

He has contributed as an expert to monographs developed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Government of India), World Health Organization and National Cancer Institute. He is a recipient of awards at both the national and international level, in addition to being a prolific author with publications in reputed international journals and abstracts presented at leading global conferences.

A medical doctor, Dr. Kumar holds further specialization with a Master’s of Public Health degree, for which was awarded honours for academic excellence.

Vera Siesjö

Vera Siesjö has over ten years of international experience in public health, health systems, quality and process improvement, eHealth and health financing.

Passionate about global health, she was formerly country director of ACCESS Health International in the Philippines and Indonesia, where she initiated projects on health financing, healthcare quality improvement, eHealth, healthcare management and health policy and system research.

Siesjö also served as a health system consultant to the Asian Development Bank where she led work on people-centered healthcare and health system integration.

Previously, Siesjö led projects for the Centre for Health Market Innovations, an international network that acts to promote and connect innovative health care solutions, and for the Joint Leaning Network for Universal Health Coverage, a network of practitioners and policymakers from 30 countries around the globe that focuses on advancing UHC in low- and middle-income countries.

She held the position of international project manager for a press agency, producing country reports for The Economist, The Times and USA Today in Mexico, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Her earliest career was in clinical psychology, primary health care and public health in public hospitals in Argentina, where as a programme manager she helped set up an integrated model of primary healthcare and mental health.

After earning a Master’s of Science in Psychology degree from the University of Palermo, Argentina, Siesjö obtained a Master’s in International Public Health from the University of Sydney.

Alexis Munier

Alexis Munier is a journalist who brings two decades of global health, current affairs, and consumer goods experience to her role at The Defeat-NCD Partnership.

A type 1 diabetic since childhood, Munier co-authored What to Do When the Doctor Says It’s Diabetes (Fair Winds Press, 2004), a guide to managing all types of the chronic illness. She considers diabetes and other NCDs a global health time bomb and is committed to ensuring universal health coverage (UHC).

Munier’s professional background encompasses strategic communications, digital marketing, and public advocacy. At Vestergaard, a leader in disease-control textiles, she was in charge of spearheading global advocacy activities for malaria and water-borne illnesses, as well as producing traditional media and film content.

From 2012-2013, Munier served as editorial manager at the World Economic Forum where she led communications for the Risk Response Network and managed the launch of the Global Risks Report 2013 in addition to reporting from Davos. Continuing her work in content creation and external communications, Munier has spent the past few years as editor-in-chief for a Swiss news magazine as well as consulting for clients in both the public and private sectors.

With degrees in Russian studies and music performance, Munier completed her postgraduate education in media and public relations at the University of Leicester, UK.

Raised in California, Munier is a dual Swiss-American citizen and speaks French, English, German and Russian. A classically trained soprano, she still performs regularly on the concert stage in Europe.

Dr. Patricia St Louis

Dr. Patricia St Louis is a medical doctor who is board-certified in internal medicine. At Defeat-NCD, she serves as a programme analyst for operations in Haiti and the Caribbean.

Formerly, Dr. St Louis spent a year working as an internist at MedCenter in Port-au-Prince, where she treated patients suffering the complications of NCDs. From 2012-2017, she practiced medicine at Hospital St-Luc, Port-au-Prince, which provides care to low-income and underprivileged patients. Here she took on emergency cases and worked in the intensive care unit, treating patients for diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperglycemia, pneumonia and coma, amongst other conditions.

Dr. St Louis also spent several months as a cabinet member for REBU—at the Haitian Ministry of Youth, Sport and Civic Action (MJSAC)—in charge of coordination of medical activities as well as training of young athletes and sport monitors.

Her hospital work prompted her to realize that real change could be better made with a community-based approach that provides the link between primary, secondary and tertiary care. Her concern for the devastating effects of NCDs, particularly diabetes, motivated her to go into public health. She then volunteered as part of the Haitian NCD Task Force at the Haitian Ministry of Health and Population.

Dr St Louis is presently obtaining certification in diabetology has plans to pursue a Master of Public Health degree later this year.

A Haitian national, she has lived and worked in France and Switzerland, and speaks English, French and Haitian Creole.

Pierre Roca

Pierre Roca has more than 10 years of experience as an international global health and development practitioner. Specialising in partnership development and resource mobilisation, he is responsible for the further development and implementation of The Defeat-NCD Partnership strategy and activities with relevant public and private partners, and for the mobilisation of funds for the Partnership Secretariat and  country programmes.

Prior to joining The Defeat-NCD Partnership, Pierre was programme manager in the health team at the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) of the European Commission where he managed the EU – Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Health System Strengthening programme and acted as focal point for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

In addition to his experience in the public sector, Pierre has also worked as public affairs manager of the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO) in Brussels and he has more than 7 years of experience in public affairs and health policy in a global pharmaceutical company at its Headquarters in Denmark and in Algeria. In this context Pierre has supported the establishment of several partnerships between public authorities, the private sector and civil society organisations in the area of prevention, detection and management of non-communicable diseases.

Pierre holds a Master of Arts in Political and Administrative Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges and a Master of Science in Health Economics, Policy and Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Born in Bordeaux, France, Pierre is married and has two children. He speaks English, French and Danish.

Rolana Karkoutli

Rolana Karkoutli is a specialist in e-learning with extensive experience in program development. At Defeat-NCD, she supports Deputy CEO Mukul Bhola, including operations and procurement.

She spent more than five years at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, where she focused on instructional design, animation, and dissemination of e-learning modules in various languages. Previously, Karkoutli held the position of e-learning project assistant at the International Committee of the Red Cross, developing both online and face-to-face training platforms.

Before the switch to global health, Karkoutli worked in events management for several global brands including Max Factor. She was responsible for media booking, marketing research, and PR for IPSOS-STAT and Impact BBDO Group in Syria.

Karkoutli holds two Master of Science degrees—one in advanced teaching and learning technologies from the University of Geneva, and the other in pedagogic studies from the University of Damascus. At the latter she also earned a bachelor’s in French literature and she has completed diplomas in business French and statistical research.

The Syrian national relocated to Geneva more than a decade ago, where she spends her free time teaching Arabic, oil painting and spending time with her family.

Martine Metral

Martine Metral has over three decades of experience as an administrative assistant in the international environment. At The Defeat-NCD Partnership, Metral performs a support function for Chief Executive Dr Kapila and carries out a variety of administrative transactions contributing to the smooth running of the Office. Martine speaks French and English, as well as a bit of Spanish.