Governance and Membership

The COVID Africa Action Network for Nurses & Nurse-Midwives (AAN) is a global network of health care professionals and development experts, working voluntarily to support nurses & nurse-midwives in their fight against the COVID pandemic. AAN is currently funding or in the planning stages of funding projects in Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

AAN Board Members

The AAN Board is comprised of founding members and representatives of country projects, four of whom serve as co-chairs. The AAN Board receives, reviews, and approves project proposals. A core principle is to involve known and trusted partners in target countries. The AAN Board meets weekly (virtual) to discuss and manage network activity. Board meetings include finance, monitoring & evaluation, reporting, media & communication, and strategic development.

Co-Chair: Judith Oulton,
BN, MEd, DSc (hon)

Judith is an international consultant working mainly in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Previously, Judith was CEO of the International Council of Nurses, the Florence Nightingale Foundation, and the Canadian Nurses Association.

Kabanyoro Annet,
RN, Med

Annet is the Dean of the School of Nursing at Kampala International University, Uganda. Annet is also a PhD candidate at the University of South Africa and an implementor of AAN’s first local facemask production project.


Fadwa is a nurse/midwife expert and an international consultant. Fadwa has worked as a consultant to the International Council of Nurses, the Certification Commission of the American Nurses Credentialing Centre, the world health organisation, governments and other NGO’s.


Dorothy is special Advisor to the President of Malawi on issues related to maternal mortality and reproductive health. She was previously President of the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (NOMN), and was also National Coordinator and Adviser for Safe Motherhood for Malawi President Dr Joyce Banda (2012 -2014).


Phetsile is the Director of the Eswatini Wellness Centre for Health Care Workers and their Families.


Fiona is the CEO of Open Arms to Golden Years Village and an Ambassador for the World Literacy Foundation. She holds a Bachelor degree in Community Psychology and a Masters in development studies.

Co-chair: Michael Paul Vitols, RN, BHA, MPH

Michael is CEO of V-consult and International Advisor for Mogadishu University and the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union. Previously, Michael was an International Development Advisor for National Nurses Associations in Southeastern Africa.

Co-Chair: Linda Carrier-Walker, MA

Linda is a Senior Partner at CWI Strategies. Previously, she was the Director of Development & External Relations at the International Council of Nurses and Manager of the World Health Professionals Alliance.

AAN  CO-CHAIR: Kabaliisa Theopista Ateenyi,

Theopista is a Senior Nursing Officer, Safety Officer, and consultant for the WCEA program in Uganda, responsible for COVID surveillance at the EPI-World Health Organization Regional Reference Lab, Entebbe, Uganda.

Nevins Saeed, PhD

Nevins is an International consultant on humanitarian/development assistance, working with the UN and various NGOs. She is a long-time volunteer in Sudan with the International voluntary Welfare Group (IVWG) and internationally with the Agakhan Foundation.


Mavis is a Professor of Nursing at the University of Pretoria and the South African Research Chair in Ubuntu Community Model in Nursing. She is currently the first Deputy President of the Democratic Nurses Organisation of South Africa, the African Regional Coordinator of Sigma Theta tau international, and an executive member of the Global Nurses and Midwives Rotary Club.

Flavia Moetsana-Poka, RN

Flavia is currently the Registrar and CEO at the Lesotho Nursing Council. As such she works directly with the International Council of Nurses, the International Confederation of Midwives and the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation.


Vuai is the Registrar of Zanzibar Nurses and Midwifery Council (ZNMC) and also serves as the Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Nurses and Midwifery Council.

Universe H Mulenga, MscN, BSCN, Dipn, RTN, RN

MScN, BScN, DipN, RTN, RN. Currently Head of Nursing and lecturer at Rusangu University, Lusaka Campus, Zambia.

Nelly Munyasia, RN, MSc Health Management Systems

Executive Director, Reproductive Health Network Kenya. Safety and security of health care providers during and beyond pandemics is crucial in ensuring continued access and provision of essential health care services. Reproductive health do not stop during pandemic and if and when nurses are provided with necessary PPEs they ensure mothers deliver in hospital, young people access safe sexual health care and treatment.

Founding Members & Advisors

AAN has a wide range of expert advisors and collaborators that provide advice and support. Many of these Founding Members and Advisors are efficient “door openers” enabling the network to expand its reach and activities.

Dr Naeema H. Al-Gasseer, RN, RM, PhD, FAAN

Naeema is the former WHO Chief Nursing Scientist and current WHO country representative for Iraq, Sudan, and Egypt.

Thembeka Gwagwa, RN, RM

Thembeka is the 2nd Vice President of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and ICN Africa Representative. She is the Founding General Secretary of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa.

Dr Janine Jagger, MPH, PhD

Janine is Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia School of Medicine and founder of the International Health Care Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia. She was awarded the Becton Dickinson Healthcare Worker Safety professorship for her work on the prevention of needlestick injuries and was named Commonwealth of Virginia Eminent Scholar.

Pastor Masitsela Mhlanga RN, PhD

Masitsela is the Director of the Eswatini Emergency Preparedness Response, former President of the Swaziland Nurses Association and the Southern Africa AIDS Network of Nurses and Midwives. 

Liu Zhiyong, MD

Zhiyong is the Deputy Chief Director & Associate Professor at South Central Xiangya University Hospital Department of Intensive Care. He is Secretary of the Hunan Medical Doctor Association. Zhiyong volunteered in Sierra Leone against Ebola in 2015, in Xinjiang in 2018, and in Wuhan against the COVID pandemic in 2020.

Cao Lan, MA, Deputy Chief Nurse

Lan is the Head Nurse of the Critical Care and Neurology Section, Nursing Department at Xiangya Hospital, South Central University, Changsha City, Hunan Province, China. She is a member of the Intensive Care Professional Committee of the Chinese Nursing Association and a member of the Working Committee of China Critical Ultrasound Research Group. Lan is the Vice Chairman of the Intensive Care Professional Committee of the Hunan Nursing Society, and leader of the Youth Study Group. She was the first responder to the COVID pandemic in Wuhan for 55 days in 2020.

Gabriel Carrier-Walker, BA

A graduate of McGill University, Gabriel is a Senior Partner and managing director at CWI Strategies.

Aleksandar Rakanovic Storøy

Aleksandar is a University graduate in International Relations / Cross-Cultural Communication.

Daad Shokeh

Daad is an Advisor to HRH Princess Muna of Jordan and the Jordan Nursing Council. In her own words “I support the COVID Africa Action Network for Nurses and Nurse-Midwives.”

Jiang Shan, BA, MA

Shan studied Exhibition Art Design at Donghua University, Shanghai, and received an MBA in the management of Culture, Art and Fashion from EAC Institute, Paris.

Graham Hellier, MBE

Graham is the Founder and Chairman of the World Continuing Education Alliance (, Graham is an entrepreneur who is focused on financial outcomes/sustainability whilst positively impacting the planet and its inhabitants.

Craig Fitzpatrick, MBA

Craig is the director of the World Continuing Education Alliance. WCEA assists countries to build capacity in CPD & lifelong learning via sustainable and innovative tech solutions. Craig is responsible for key stakeholder relations with ministries of health and regulatory bodies in low and middle-income countries, donors and with  global partners International Council of Nurses & the World Medical Association.

Kaen O, BA

Kaen is recent graduate from Smith College, working as a medical scribe and interpreter in Washington DC, including with AAN.


Paula recently retired from Pfizer Inc., where she held varied positions including as Global Lead for Healthy Ageing, member of External Medical Affairs and within clinical education and research.  Previously, she was a research and critical care neurology nurse.