Rose Mary Nakame
Founder and Executive Director, REMI East Africa

Advocacy cannot be sustained without grassroots champions and these need to be nurtured and empowered to become the voices of change. Therefore, by equipping health workers with skills in evidence-based practice and leadership, they will champion the strengthening of a health system that delivers quality health care to the poorest.

Rose Mary Nakame is a passionate health equity advocate and community nurse who strongly believes that health information must be easily accessible for stakeholders at all levels in order for disease elimination to occur. Nakame was inspired to improve health systems from an early age after battling a life-threatening brain tumor. While working as a community nurse, she recognized the inability for most rural health workers in East Africa to conduct research and lack of resources. 

Nakame is the founder and Executive Director of REMI East Africa, a health equity organization that works to influence health policies, strengthen health systems and address the social determinants of health. REMI does this by piloting, upscaling and supporting novel approaches which increase access to quality health care for the poorest. An example is Nakame’s  “Health Equity Voice” project, which utilizes the most powerful and traditional method of communication in the region, storytelling, to help rural health workers become grassroots advocates for improved health education and health equity. These stories are published and distributed on social media to generate public discourse and engage relevant stakeholders to re-shape thinking, attitude and support of public health facilities.

Nakame has also collaborated with The University of Manchester, UK, to design a curriculum to educate students on how they can contribute to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals 3: health and well-being for the poorest. In 2018, she received The University of Manchester-Equity and Merit Scholarship Award for her Master in Public Health and the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. On a global level, she worked with International Council of Nurses and the World Health organization (WHO) to bring the stories from the Health Equity Voice project to the tables of global policymakers to demand for accountability and support to scale best practices. She also serves as an interim chair for Irise Uganda, an organization that is focused on generating best practices in menstrual hygiene management.

At the age of 31, Nakame has demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills and continues to address health inequalities to prevent disease and enable the poorest live dignified, healthy and productive lives.