Leading Voices: Meet Degu Jerene

Leading Voices: Meet Degu Jerene

We’re excited to bring you this month’s edition of Leading Voices, a series that features the incredible talent that makes up MSH.

We’re chatting with Degu Jerene, our project director in Ethiopia. Degu hails from Addis Ababa and has a passion for stopping the spread of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV. He’s responsible for leading the USAID-funded Challenge TB project in Ethiopia. Degu will be representing MSH this week at the Union World Conference on Lung Health in Guadalajara, Mexico.

What do you think makes MSH different?

Our expertise in health systems makes us unique. Others might be experts in childhood TB, for example, or research, or MDR-TB. But we have a comprehensive approach that looks at the health system as a whole and finds integrated solutions to very complex problems. At the same time, we are equally good or even better in disease specific areas.

What are you most proud of in your work?

Proving that our approach works. Gathering evidence and publishing it in peer-reviewed journals, which I’ve done dozens of times, is a contribution to the field I’m very proud of having made.

Finish this sentence: Health is _______.

A right, not a privilege.

What’s your best advice for people who are reading this?

Try to be innovative. In whatever field you find yourself, chances are if you want to make a difference, you can’t afford to continue to do the same and expect different results. Try something new. Think outside the box.

What drives you?

I started this work because of the magnitude of the problem, especially with HIV, and when I progressed to TB, it became a natural continuation of my activities. I continued to build on that work and find that I can contribute to both society and also where I’m most passionate.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I like spending time with my family and volunteering at my church.