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Africa : John Nkengasong, voice of the African Union in the face of the coronavirus

Since 2020, Dr. John Nkengasong has revealed himself to the face of the world as the emblematic figure in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus in Africa. The 61-year-old Cameroonian virologist, now director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (AFRICA CDC), has 30 years of experience as head of the virology laboratory in the HIV/AIDS division, responsible for routing screening tests and protective equipment.

He is the emblematic figure of the health system in Africa. Dr. John Nkengasong, a native of Douala in Cameroon is the first director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (AFRICA CDC). Since 2020, he has almost single-handedly embodied the fight against Covid 19 on the African continent.

Before the advent of covid 19, no African country produced diagnostic tests and this pandemic taught us more on these vulnerabilities. We saw that at the start of the pandemic, Africa had limited access to diagnostics, vaccines and these are lessons we need to learn. Despite this situation, I am very optimistic because about 3 or 4 African countries are currently producing diagnostics.

At 61, Dr. John Nkengasong has 30 years of professional experience in public health. A graduate of the University of Yaoundé, he then trained in tropical medicine in Belgium and the United States. It pilots the delivery of screening tests and protective equipment, coordinates the continental response to the virus and promotes the benefits of barrier gestures to the general public.

In the story of fighting disease in Africa we see the continent coming together, mobilizing its own resources to acquire 400 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. We are very happy to know that Egypt currently produces about 3.5 million doses of vaccines. The king of Morocco has also launched a large vaccine manufacturing unit which will not only produce covid 19 vaccines but also other vaccines.

Before taking the helm of Africa CDC, the health branch of the AU in 2016, Dr Nkengasong, author of several articles, this virologist by training held the associate directorate of laboratory sciences and head of the branch of international laboratories. in the Global Division of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis. While it is true that he has a long career internationally, it was during the global coronavirus pandemic that Dr. Nkengasong became better known.


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