Martha Lucia Ospina


National Institute of Health 

Dr. Martha Lucia Ospina, from Cali, took office as director of the National Institute of Health (INS) in May 2016. Thus, Dr. Ospina is the first woman to officially lead the institute in its 99-year history.

Alumnus of the Faculty of Medicine of the Universidad Javeriana, specializing in Public Health Management and holding a master’s degree in epidemiology at the University of Valle and in economics at the Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona (Spain), Martha Ospina has 20 years of experience in the health sector.

Before appointment to the INS where she spent six months as acting director, she was acting Deputy Minister and National Director of Epidemiology and Demography at the Ministry of Health, Director of the High Cost Disease Account, and Director of Planning and Promotion and Health Maintenance of Social Security in Valle del Cauca, among other positions.

Martha Ospina is now before an entity that was founded almost a century ago and has shown great adaptability. Created in January 1917, the INS is responsible for monitoring, both in the territories and in the laboratory, events likely to impact public health. In fact, the quality and transparency of information from its surveillance system have made it a key center for research in Zika worldwide.

Among other responsibilities, the INS includes research and analysis of information for the definition of policies by the ministry and the production of antivenoms–snakebites, anti-scorpion and antilonomia–which no longer arouse interest in the big pharmaceutical houses.

The challenge of the new director will be to project the INS into its second century. This means, among other things, to make it a governing body, capable of generating networks and better management in research in the country.