Dr. Linda A. Vanotoo is an accomplished health systems and public health expert with over 37 years of experience in clinical and public health practice. She has spent over 30 years providing thought and entrepreneurial leadership to staff working with partners, funders, stakeholders, political leaders, and communities. Within this period, she has supported development, implementation, and research to strengthen health systems. She has built staff capacity and managed health information and logistics to improve the quality of health care and facilitate self-sustaining systems from the community to the national levels of health service delivery.
Dr. Vanotoo is the senior program director for community and primary health care at Results for Development (R4D). She oversees the development of primary and community health workforces within the USAID-funded Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator (Accelerator) to ensure equity in the recruitment, training, and financing of community health workforces. She provides thought leadership and contributes to strategy development, partner engagement, collaborative learning, and the use of digital innovation to build countries’ community health workforces for quality primary health care.
Before taking up this position, Linda was R4D’s country director for Ghana. In that role, she successfully oversaw R4D’s large portfolio of work in Ghana, including supporting the Ghanaian government with their COVID-19 response and the scaling up of a nation-wide primary care network to improve health care for millions. She supported the harmonization and complete digitization of the process for assessment and accreditation of health facilities. She successfully supported the Ministry of Health’s research focused on health workers’ acceptance of working in hard-to-reach communities. She also supported the Ministry of Health in installing audio-visual equipment and holding the first hybrid health sector performance summit. She supported the development and endorsement of the Essential Health Service package for Ghana as well as the development of the Health Information Strategic Plan to inform and guide data harmonization, governance, and interoperability of health information in Ghana.
Throughout her career, Linda has focused on health systems strengthening to ensure equity in quality health care at all levels. She is the founder of the Promote Maternal & Infant Survival Excellence (PROMISE) Initiative, which advocates to make pregnancy a safer, more memorable experience and to improve maternal and newborn survival. Linda also launched The Pregnancy School, an innovative online program that disseminates information via YouTube, Facebook and Health TV to improve communication between health workers, pregnant women and their families, including male involvement. She has written two books: The Pregnancy School: Communicating with Pregnant Women and their Families and Promise from the Womb, which have been used to train midwives and to set up other functional pregnancy schools.
Prior to joining R4D, Linda was the regional director of health service for the Western and Greater Accra Regions where she supervised planning and implementation of public health activities such as immunization, disease surveillance and control and management of disease outbreaks. She also previously served as the senior capacity development advisor for Evaluate for Health/USAID Ghana.
Dr. Vanotoo is a fellow of the Ghana College of Physicians and currently coordinates the Family and Reproductive Course at the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons.
She holds a B.Sc. and MBChB from the University of Science and Technology, Ghana; a master’s degree in tropical pediatrics from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; an executive MBA from Ghana Institute of Public Administration and a Ph.D. in public health from the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon. She also holds a certificate in applied epidemiology from Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, USA and Kenyatta Medical Institute, Kenya.