Biden names Raj Panjabi to lead his Malaria Initiative


Dr Raj Panjabi is the CEO and co-founder of Last Mile Health. (Image Source: Twitter/Dr. Raj Panjabi)

Dr Raj Panjabi said: “It’s an honor to serve the country that helped build back my own life as part of the Biden-Harris Administration.”

US President Joe Biden appointed Indian-origin Dr Raj Panjabi to lead his Malaria Initiative, which is mainly in Asian and African countries.

Panjabi posted on Twitter that he is grateful for this chance. He tweeted: “After being sworn in this morning, I’m honored to share that I’ve been appointed by” Joe Biden as the “President’s Malaria Coordinator to lead the US president’s Malaria Initiative.”

Panjabi’s grandparents were refugees from Sindh Province following the partition of Pakistan and India in 1947 and resettled in Mumbai and Indore, India. A generation later, Panjabi’s parents migrated to West Africa, where Panjabi was born in Liberia. After the civil war broke in Liberia, Panjabi who was 9-years-old then along with his family came to the United States.

In a series of tweets, Panjabi said: “My family and I arrived in America 30 years ago after fleeing civil war in Liberia. A community of Americans rallied around my family to help us build back our lives. It’s an honor to serve the country that helped build back my own life as part of the Biden-Harris Administration.”

Panjabi explained that the mission is personal for him. He said: “My grandparents and parents were infected with malaria while living in India. As a child in Liberia, I fell sick with malaria, and as a doctor serving in Africa, I have seen this disease take too many lives.” He added he has witnessed how the Malaria Initiative and its partners have responded with resolve in the countries where it operates and watched the relief on the parents’ faces whose children survived malaria because they were treated with medicines and by health workers backed by its support. 

Panjabi said he will work to eliminate malaria once and for all alongside the staff of the President’s Malaria Initiative, its partners the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Center for Disease Control.

According to Panjabi’s LinkedIn account, he returned to Liberia as a medical student and in 2007, co-founded Last Mile Health. He also worked as an assistant professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, an associate physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and is the CEO and co-founder of Last Mile Health. 

Panjabi and the Last Mile Health team played a crucial part in the 2013-16 West Africa Ebola epidemic. He also led Last Mile Health to support governments in Africa to train frontline health workers as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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