A little about us.

Dr. Richard Lester

Executive Director

Dr. Richard Lester is the founder and chief medical lead for WelTel. Richard designed and lead the original RCT that showed that two-way SMS communication with patients could improve health outcomes (Lancet 2010). Richard is trained as an infectious disease physician, and completed a five year research fellowship in innate immunology in Kenya. Richard has been successful in acquiring grants at the highest level and honour including the PEPFAR/CDC, the NIH and Grand Challenges Canada. He is also engaged at the highest global level and has presented WelTel’s program and scale up plan to the W.H.O, the offices of the Global Health Coordinator (OGAC) in DC, the Economist Health Care in Africa conference, and many international mHealth summits and conferences.

Patrick Wang'oo

Lead Programmer

Patrick Gikaria Wang'oo joined WelTel in 2012 and is the lead programmer in Kenya. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science form Kenyatta University and a Masters of Science in Mobile Telecommunications and Innovations development from Strathmore University Kenya. Patrick also has certification in mobile application development and worked at Safaricom as a mobile applications developer. Patrick has vast knowledge and experience in mobile applications development and deployment, as well as an intense passion for I.C.T and health services provision.

Board of Directors

Gabrielle Serafini, DC


Gabrielle Serafini, DC, lived and worked in Africa for over 13 years. She has extensive experience in fundraising, and was an assistant to the director during the conceptual and development phase of WolaNani, an HIV/AIDS organization in South Africa that tackled complex issues in the early days of the epidemic. Gabrielle also works in the healthcare field and has a holistic and comprehensive perspective around health of both individual and community.

Carolyn McCool, LLB

Vice President

Edwin Levy, PhD


Edwin Levy, PhD, served as a Senior Vice President of Corporate Development of QLT Inc. Mr. Levy oversaw the formation and management of QLT's strategic alliances, the commercialization of devices and intellectual property issues regarding QLT's portfolio of patents. He served as a Vice President of Corporate Development at QLT Inc. Ed led strategic planning and managed strategic alliances at QLT Inc., which he helped build into a global leader in biopharmaceuticals. He is VP and Treasurer of the Illahie Foundation which supports innovative social and environmental initiatives including program-related investments. He serves on the boards of the following organizations: the Neil Squire Foundation, the BC Civil Liberties Association, WelTel, and Oncolytics Biotech, and until recently, Pivot Foundation and Coast Social Enterprise Foundation. Ed is also adjunct professor at the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics at the University of British Columbia and is part of a research team studying Intellectual Property and Policy relating to genomics.

Thomas Peter, PhD

Director of Strategic Planning

Thomas Peter, PhD, is the owner and CEO of asm, a social marketing agency in Switzerland, which helps not-for-profits and charities solve some of the most urgent social problems. Since its founding in 1979, asm has earned a reputation as a partner that can channel independent research into practical proposals, and move strategic planning into operations, implementation and funding. The company helped develop and refine strategies on a range of policy issues to accelerate the advancement of public health; to reduce hunger and poverty; to protect innocent bystanders, prisoners and the wounded in war; to empower those with disabilities in society; and to improve the conservation of many ecologically important regions. Thomas supports the movement of research initiatives to emerge from their “silos” and then develops the research in overlapping subjects based on multi-disciplinary approaches. He has been working in both the academic and private sector, and in many countries including Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Canada and Zimbabwe. As a former director of the Swiss Red Cross Zurich and member of the board of the Swiss Red Cross, he also has firsthand, on the ground experience with all facets of charity work. He serves on the boards of various companies in Switzerland and Germany. Thomas is also very well versed in the creation and direction of the policy around the Sustainable Development Goals for the UN.

Ilya Biniowsky, MSc


Manisha Singh Decosas, PhD


Technical Advisors

Saaya Tema

Technical Advisor

Saaya Tema, a respected member of the Il Ngwesi Maasai community, has extensive experience in health issues affecting pastoral peoples, and has been an advocate for HIV testing and awareness, bringing programs to his remote community. After volunteering for 6 months in both Kenya and Canada, Saaya was the recipient of a Canada World Youth scholarship that allowed him to travel to Canada and study in Kenya to obtain a degree in Business Management. Saaya was instrumental in obtaining donor funds to complete the construction of the Lokusero Hospital in Il Ngwesi. He also spearheaded a solar panel project that supplies water and power to several schools and clinics in the Lokusero community. He currently works for the Laikipia County Government and is responsible for the employment of all county staff.