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Peter Piot welcomes appointment of Dr John Nkengasong as first director of Africa CDC

Friday, 02 December 2016

Dr John Nkengasong has been named as the first director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

The institution will provide strategic direction and support African countries to build capacity, effectively monitor public health, detect and respond to disease outbreaks and address complex health challenges.

The School’s Director, Professor Peter Piot, welcomed the announcement. He said: “I am delighted that Dr John Nkengasong has been appointed as the first director of the Africa CDC. Dr Nkengasong is an outstanding leader in public and global health and his expertise will be invaluable.

“He has worked for more than 20 years at the United States CDC, where he is currently Acting Deputy Principal Director for the Center for Global Health. He previously directed the laboratory programmes for the US CDC’s Division of Global HIV and TB, and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and he is also Founding Chair of the African Society for Laboratory Medicine. Dr Nkengasong’s experience and knowledge of public health in Africa make him the ideal candidate to lead the Africa CDC.

“The Ebola outbreak showed us once again the huge importance of regional capacity in responding effectively to public health challenges. The establishment of the Africa CDC is an important step in achieving this, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is committed to working with the new institute on its mission.”

Dr Nkengasong said: “I am honoured and humbled to have been selected to serve as the pioneer Director of this new public health institution in Africa. One major lesson learned from the recent Ebola virus disease outbreak is that diseases are a security, economic, and health threat to Africa.  The Africa CDC therefore offers a unique possibility to enhance the continent’s capacity to detect and rapidly respond to these threats in order to make Africa secure and safe.”

The Africa CDC aims to establish early warning and response surveillance platforms to address health emergencies quickly and effectively. It will support Member States in country-level hazard mapping and risk assessments, and emergency response planning. The institution will also work to prevent disease by strengthening health systems and by addressing communicable and non-communicable diseases, environmental health and Neglected Tropical Diseases.

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