Huda Basaleem: science for a better life in Yemen

Huda Basaleem has become a role model, recognized internationally for her leading role in the medical community and her focus on improving lives in the Arab Region. 

“In 2010, and just a few months after finishing my PhD, I was appointed Head of the Department of Community Medicine and Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Aden University. This is one of the biggest and departments and is essential in the formation of future doctors, pharmacists, dentists and other health professionals” She explains. She then accepted many appointments “In particular, I’m very proud to be the Secretary General of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) National Chapter in Yemen , the Yemeni Women Association for Science and Technology for Development (YWASTD).” 

She has been a member of OWSD since 2005, when she received a PhD fellowship. She went on to receive the Elsevier Foundation – OWSD Award in 2013, in recognition of her dedication in the fight against cancer and for the well-being of women and children in the Arab region.

“This award is a tremendous milestone in my life and career. In fact, winning the OWSD postgraduate fellowship to pursue my PhD studies in Malaysia was the initial starting point for many major achievements in my life.

In August 2013, I became the UNESCO Country Focal Point (Yemen) and a member of the Bioethics Network on Women's Issues in the Arab Region (BiNWIAR). In 2014, I was selected and trained to be the WHO expert for Advising Eastern Mediterranean Countries on Non Communicable Diseases Surveillance. I continued the hard work and was nominated one of the best doctors for working for better life in the Arab world in March 2014. 

Not only have Elsevier and OWSD played a pivotal role in my career development. They have also sensitized me more towards contextual issues such as the complex challenges Yemeni women are facing in their traditionally conservative and poor home country. This challenged me to develop my social accountability which flourished during the military and political conflict in Yemen, beginning in March 2014 in my city Aden. 

During the most intense military clashes, I coordinated charitable and medical initiatives to help people in my country to stand up to the realities of the war. We did this by fundraising money and medicine and distributing all to community welfare centers. Later, I participated with civilian efforts to organize the distribution of food, clothing and monetary aid for the poor.”

Huda Basaleem



The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) 

OWSD was founded in 1987 and is the first international forum to unite eminent women scientists from the developing and developed worlds with the objective of strengthening their role in the development process and promoting their representation in scientific and technological leadership. OWSD provides research training, career development and networking opportunities for women scientists throughout the developing world at different stages in their careers. OWSD is hosted by The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS), a UNESCO Programme based in Trieste, Italy.