Candidate Statement: Trustee – Amadou Gallo, DIOP, MD, PhD

galloI am professor of Neurology, Epileptology and Neurosciences at the University Hospital of  Dakar, Senegal. I am 54 years old; graduated MD in 1988 in Dakar and specialized in neurology (Universities of Toulouse, France and Dakar,  Senegal).  I obtained  my PhD  in neurobiology in  Limoges, France, in 1995 and served as  assistant professor of Michel Dumas,  at the University Hospital of  Limoges, for four years. I also have expertise in public health and health  promotion (University of Nancy, France).

I was promoted to the position  of professor of Medicine in 1996  after a continental contest and was ranked first. I have co-chaired with  Professor Johan Aarli, father of the  “Africa Initiative” of the World  Federation of Neurology. I am chairing it currently.

The participation in several scientific conventions in 53 countries across  the world and having grown in a  multicultural, multilingual environment make me a real citizen of the world.  All of these experiences have given me an international open vision and approach for global health care and education.

My feet are deeply rooted in the soil of the African continent with its enriching young and promising environment. My brain is dedicated to always try and reach the excellence. My hands are widely open to the world’s diversity and infinite opportunities.

Son of a teacher, I am convinced that education and training are the  keys for bridging any gap and go  beyond the borders raised by economic, environmental and human factors.  A specific characteristic of my  personality is to gather people around important goals; try to obtain  consensus when there are antagonisms. However, when the time comes for  making a decision, I am able do so in  a gentle and balanced way. With  these qualities and your support,  I will carry out the WFN’s vision:  “fostering quality neurology and brain health worldwide.”



Over two decades, I have been  closely involved in promoting  training in neurology and neurosciences, collaborative researches and  initiatives for improving the availability and quality of care for neglected  populations. Since 2000, I have been  responsible for post-graduate education  of junior medical staff and trainees  coming from 14 African countries,  by setting up training and specialization certificate in neurology in the  University of Dakar. This academic  course enrolls 25 students from Africa  annually. We are proud that over 12 years, we have many graduates who are now serving as neurology specialists in their countries, including, for some of them, the first neurologist ever. In 2010, I set up, at Dakar, the first University Diploma of Epileptology in Sub-Saharan Africa. Twenty-nine trainees from eight African countries have completed this brand  new course. I am the past-chairman  of the Society of Neuroscientists of  Africa, which aims to promote clinical  and basic neurosciences across the  continent.

Before deciding on priorities, one  has to know facts. I set about doing this  by creating the Neuro-Staff Africa  Directory, which is contributing to  improve our communication with the world. The data are open to all, for the first time, an opportunity to have the  contact of any individual working in  Africa in clinical, surgical and basic neurosciences and psychiatry (names, telephones, e-mails as well as fields of interest).

In terms of clinical care, I continue  to carry a large clinical load by  consulting 4,000 patients per year,  from Senegal, international institutions  located in Dakar and neighboring  countries. Very often and in very difficult situations, my team and I travel to rural areas for care delivery and training via  two innovative initiatives: Neuro-Caravans and Caravans for Epilepsy. I have  created these concepts, which entail  a two-day session of consulting  on a large number of people, training health staff, meeting community leaders and caring for patients residing far from capital cities in resources-limited areas. Since May 2005, we have applied these  innovative public health methodologies for contributing and reducing the neurodiagnostic and treatment gap. And it works.

Every year, I lecture for 450  medical students, postgraduate trainees and nurses. The fact that I have  intervened on local and international media for health education and counseling requires a sense of public responsibility and dedication. The fields I have  emphasized over the years is how to  better help people with neurological  diseases, raise awareness and develop  capacity building, such as medical  education in mass media, epilepsy,  poliomyelitis and measles eradication in Africa.

As WHO consultant, I have  gathered patients, families and health  and social professionals to set up the  Senegalese League Against Epilepsy (ILEA). In my roles as founder and  current president, I have contributed  to raise awareness among the general population, and community leaders.  This league is a recognized leader  by WHO, (ILAE) and International  Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE), which  awarded me in 2001 the title of  Ambassador for Epilepsy. We have  contributed in setting up and chairing  the first Commission on African Affairs  of the ILAE.

I have played a key role in  the Global Campaign against  Epilepsy organizing in Senegal the  first Demonstration Project in  Africa. I have been the coordinator  and main author of the first WHO  advocacy report on “Epilepsy in  the WHO African Region: Bridging  the Gap.” This advocacy and policy  document for Africa intends to raise awareness, fight against taboos  and discrimination toward people  with epilepsy and reduce the burden  of their condition. We train doctors  and paramedics in Dakar and in  the region to better diagnose seizures  and treat them. Schoolteachers also  have been trained on this common  disorder among the young, which leads  to many cases of school withdrawal  due to ignorance. We have set up a  Cheap Drug Bank as in the model I  visited in Chile.

I also have been the convener of several international scientific meetings in Dakar and elsewhere. One of the major outcomes has been the African Declaration against Epilepsy, which has been proclaimed in May 2000.

Author of more than 300 scientific communications and publications, I  have been honored to be a co-author of WFN Handbooks on Public Health and WFN Education Committee’s Seminars and also Pedley and Engel’s Epilepsy Textbook.

I keep abreast with the latest  developments in my fields by undertaking study and professional visits to  worldwide renowned institutions and  was able to build partnerships with  medical services such as: UCLA, McGill, Heemstede, Tokushima, and several  institutions in France, Pan-Arab Union and in Africa.


What Would I Contribute?

As I see it, the way the WFN  should operate is through mobility  and partnership. Time has really  come for the “South,” particularly  Africa, to reach that level of responsibility in World Neurology governance.  Not only for sympathy, but because  it would have a tremendous impact  on projects of implementing  world-class neurology in developing countries. It also would strengthen  the health policies for  noncommunicable diseases, which  are dramatically increasing in terms  of morbidity and mortality in the “South.” The rainbow light must touch the WFN. As a WFN Trustee, my  mission statement is to bring into  action my years of diverse and rich  experience, enforced by an ability to overcome any kind of obstacles. I will share with the member societies, particularly from the developing world, concrete success stories and facts. My origins are from the South, namely Africa, but I will be dedicated to the world.

I am running for a position of WFN Trustee and in order to contribute in reaching these goals, my main and only concerns are:

• A world where neurology contributes to human health management and sustainable improvement in every country

• Clear-cut, efficient cooperation and exchanges between developed and developing countries

• Strengthen training opportunities for doctors and paramedics all over the world, with diversified international partnerships

• Make an impact on policies that will take into account raising the burden of noncommunicable diseases all around the world.

The African member states of  the WFN are not a majority, therefore my eventual election as a trustee,  would and should be global. Every voice in my favor, coming from  Europe, Middle-East and Maghreb, Americas, Asia and Oceania should reflect the world in its diversity and  its ambition to see WFN survive  sustainably, with full understanding  of its future, and its balanced, generous vision.

My achievements, if ever  consecrated, by a WFN trustee  position, should give courage to the new generation of neurologists from everywhere to go beyond any  intellectual border and make the  world more open with confidence  and commitment.


Summary of my Vision

• Ambition for a first-class neurology worldwide

• Friendship and partnership between member societies

• Reinforce regional management

• Integrity in governance

• Commitment to youth in  neurosciences

• Attention to any need, especially for low- and middle-income developing countries.