Dr. Jemilah Mahmood qualified as a medical doctor in 1986, graduating with an award for Obstetrics & Gynaecology from the National Universiti of Malaysia and later obtained a Masters in Obstetrics & Gynaecology from the same university. She also obtained Fellowship of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, United Kingdom. In her career, she served as a medical officer and later Specialist in Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Lecturer at the National University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. Currently, she is a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist in private practice.
Dr. Jemilah founded the Malaysian Medical Relief Society (MERCY Malaysia) in 1999 and has held the position of President since its inception. Under her stewardship, MERCY Malaysia has grown into the reputable international relief organization delivering aid in emergencies as well as developmental work post-emergency. In July 2007, MERCY Malaysia became the only Malaysian born NGO receiving Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC). MERCY Malaysia is also the only Asian NGO appointed to the board of Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International in Geneva. Following an audit in November 2007, MERCY Malaysia became the first Asian and third NGO globally to be accredited for humanitarian accountability and transparency by the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International, based in Geneva.
She is a founding member of the Asian Disaster Reduction & Response Network (ADRRN) and has held the position of Chairperson since 2004. In February 2006, during its 13th General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Jemilah was elected as the Vice-Chair of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) for a period of three years.
Dr. Jemilah was the first Malaysian to be deployed with the United Nations Disaster Assessment & Coordination Team (UNDAC) and with her team, drafted the disaster preparedness for response report for the Government of Philippines in 2005. She was also appointed Team Leader for UNDAC mission to Bagh, Pakistan following the earthquake in October 2005. She has also completed training in Civil Military Coordination by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in 2006.
In 2005, she was a member of the International Visitor Leadership Program in the United States of America. During her three weeks study visit, she focused on understanding disaster management by several governmental and non-governmental agencies, media and other stakeholders in the USA.
In April 2006, Dr. Jemilah was appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations as a member of the Advisory Board of the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, which is responsible for a global fund of almost USD 470 million for the year 2008. She remains a member of the Advisory Group to date.
Dr. Jemilah has been an invited speaker and resource person for numerous conferences and International workshop and training programs related to humanitarian issues, disaster management, security, gender and cultural awareness, as well as sexual exploitation in vulnerable communities. She has facilitated programs for United Nations agencies, Interpol, the Government of Indonesia’s Disaster Management Agency as well as the Malaysian Government.
Her social contributions and recognition of her contribution to civil society and marginalised communities is nationally and globally recognised. Dr. Jemilah has received numerous national awards including three Royal awards from Malaysia, the `East Asian Women’s Award for Peace (Humanitarian Section)’ from Philippines for her contribution to society in August 2003. In 20th October 2006, she was awarded the prestigious “Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award” by Morehouse College USA for her contribution to community development and peace advocacy. She was also conferred an Honorary Doctorate by the International Islamic University in Malaysia in 2005 and was appointed as an Adjunct Professor at Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences in 2007.