Officers

declanDeclan Okpalaeke

Chairman, African Health Journalists Association
Knight International Journalism Fellow, Nigeria

Declan Okpalaeke was elected founding chairman of the African Health Journalists Association in June 2012. In that role, he guided a steering committee of leading African health journalists in developing policies and programs for the organization, which is based in Lagos, Nigeria. AHJA offers training, forums and resources for journalists across the continent. Since the organization was launched, Okpalaeke has also led efforts to build a robust pan-African network of health and science journalists.

Okpalaeke has also served as a Knight Fellow in Nigeria since September 2011. His work as a Fellow included launching a four-page, weekly health section at This Day, one of Nigeria’s most popular newspapers.

He is a three-time winner of CNN’s African Journalist of the Year Award for his coverage of health, science and environment, and sports stories in Nigeria. A native of Nigeria, Okpalaeke has worked as a top editor at several Nigerian publications, including Tell magazine, Insider Weekly, and News Digest International, a monthly human-interest magazine. In 2004, he was awarded a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University.

zarinaZarina Geloo

Vice Chairman (Zambia)

Zarina Geloo is a journalist and media consultant based in Lusaka, Zambia. During two years as a Knight Health Journalism Fellow in Zambia, she launched a weekly health section at the Times of Zambia, the country’s largest newspaper, and improved coverage of deadly diseases and other key health issues with the goal of spurring better public health policies. She also led the creation of a health writers’ group that organizes training workshops and dialogues with health experts.

Zarina has worked as a journalist for more than 20 years, including in Zambia and in Paris, where she worked with a team of international journalists from more than 30 countries to produce Europe magazine. She developed an early interest in health reporting, particularly HIV and AIDS, because of the lack of information about the pandemic as it began sweeping through African countries. Zarina researched media coverage of HIV and AIDS and conducted evaluations on the impact of this coverage and led a two-year project to get more than 20 media houses in Zambia to develop HIV and AIDS work place policies. She received a certificate in journalism from the Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce in Lusaka. She holds a master’s degree in mass communication research from the University of Leicester.

joyJoy Wanja

Secretary (Kenya)

Joy Wanja is a science and health reporter at the Daily Nation in Nairobi, Kenya. She has won several journalism awards, including the 2010 Best Print Journalist in Reproductive Health category at the Kenya Media Population Network awards, the Tom Arocho Journalist of the Year award for writing on TB and lung health issues in September 2011, and the Best Print Journalist in Reproductive Health Category in December 2011 during the Kenya Media Population Network awards. Joy has worked as a volunteer community health worker at Kenya Network of Women with AIDS (KENWA) and has experience raising awareness of HIV/AIDS. She is fluent in English, French, Swahili, Japanese and Kenyan sign language. Joy has a bachelor’s degree in English linguistics and literature and is currently studying Chinese.