January 22, 2021

5 Questions with Osama Afaneh

Our monthly check-in with staff from around the world. Learn more about the people who work at CHAI.

Picture of Osama Afaneh, Senior Associate, Global Health Financing Team

Please tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to CHAI.

I am a dentist by profession, of Jordanian origins. I started my professional life working in a dental clinic in Amman, Jordan. Soon after, I shifted careers to global health and development. I moved to France where I graduated with masters’ degrees in public health at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique (EHESP) and political sciences at the Sorbonne. I briefly worked for Action Against Hunger on their health system strengthening team, and with Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA) on maternal and reproductive health projects.

I began working at CHAI two years ago and am based in Dakar, Senegal.  I started on the health financing country team supporting the Senegalese government on data analysis around its universal health coverage scheme. In 2019, I transitioned to CHAI’s global health financing team where I now support a few West African countries on health financing activities.

1. What does a typical day at CHAI look like for you?

I start my day by attending the daily virtual coordination meeting with the Senegalese Health Emergency Operation Center (COUS) that manages the ministry of health’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic. The rest of the day varies depending on current projects. This versatility is what I love about CHAI.

Some days, I am in the field collecting data at healthcare facilities for an analysis project evaluating the utilization of services for the free healthcare program for children under five in Dakar, Senegal. Most days, I am meeting with key ministry of health counterparts to coordinate health financing activities, in the office revising documents and preparing data analysis reports or attending online meetings with our global health financing team and Burkina Faso country team. I often travel to Burkina Faso to provide support to the health financing country team, which has helped to strengthen my technical and soft skills over the last two years, as I have been exposed to different topics and work streams.

2. What’s been one of your proudest moments working at CHAI?

One of my proudest moments working at CHAI was conducting a resource mapping activity that typically takes six to 12 months in a record time of two months. The Burkina Faso government had wanted to understand and analyze funding gaps in preparation for an international forum that President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré was presiding to mobilize funding for universal health coverage. The mapping exercise was CHAI’s first activity in the country. Our timely delivery helped us gain the trust of the government and paved the way for a strong partnership.

3. What’s the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is that I get to work with brilliant colleagues from different backgrounds and varied expertise on daily basis across different countries. This has been very enriching and has helped me grow on all levels. I also love being involved in a variety of projects in different countries which has exposed me to fields and helped me broaden my area of expertise.

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

When I am not at work or in Kaolack (a city 3.5 hours by car from Dakar) visiting my partner, I am reading a book, cooking in the kitchen or taking care of my plants on the balcony of my shared-flat. I am on the fourth floor of a building with a nice view of Dakar and the ocean. Before COVID-19, I would go out to have a dinner at a restaurant in Dakar, or spend some time on the beach; nowadays, in-house activities are a big part of my routine.

5. What are you currently reading or watching?

I am currently reading What’s In, What’s Out: Designing Benefits for Universal Health Coverage by the Center for Global Development as well as a French book called Le Naufrage des Civilisations which translates to “the shipwreck of civilizations,” by Amin Maalouf. I am also watching Good Girls and season 13 of RuPaul on Netflix.

CHAI is looking for dynamic and self-motivated individuals who are committed to strengthening integrated health systems around the world and expanding access to care and treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other illnesses. Join our team.

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