Remembering Atai on 5th Death Anniversary

Today we honour the memory and legacy of Dr Anne Deborah Atai Omoruto, better known to all as Atai, five years after her death, on May 5, 2016. 

Dr Atai Omoruto, originally from Uganda, played a pivotal role when West Africa was in the midst of the Ebola epidemic. Thanks to crucial work carried out in her own country, Atai became one of the world's most experienced doctors managing Ebola outbreaks. In July 2014, she travelled to Liberia as the leader of a medical unit of 12 health workers brought by the World Health Organization to fight the Ebola crisis in the region. 

Following her sudden death at age 59, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer, Dr Atai was designated our 2016 Global Five Star Doctor Award winner in recognition of her extraordinary service as a family medicine leader over many years, her service to the people of Uganda, and her outstanding leadership tackling the Ebola crisis in West Africa. The announcement was made by the then president of WONCA, Michael Kidd, who expressed his respect and admiration for whom he defined as a "global family medicine champion." 

“Atai has shown us all the extraordinary contributions that family doctors can make, at a local level, at a national level, and at a global level. I admired Atai greatly before the Ebola crisis. She is now one of my personal all-time heroes of family medicine.”, wrote former President, Michael Kidd.  

Dr Atai had a deep commitment and involvement with WONCA over many years. As the first President of the Association of Family Physicians of Uganda, she brought the association into WONCA as a member organisation. She also represented a strong voice for family medicine in Africa as a member of our WONCA Africa Regional Council and our global Working Party on Women and Family Medicine. 

Her legacy continues to be present at WONCA to this day with the Dr Atai Anne Deborah Omoruto Scholarship Award, inspired by her dedication to the advancement of women physicians and women’s health in family medicine, and in tribute to Atai’s exceptional courage, selflessness, and commitment to her thousands of patients. 

Today, we remember and honour Dr Atai Omoruto. A much loved and respected member of our WONCA family.