“He’s a really robust public well being chief with a few years of expertise, and would carry nice connectivity to African leaders and group companions,” mentioned Dr. Chris Beyrer, a professor of public well being and human rights on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being. (Dr. Beyrer was on a brief checklist of candidates for the place.)
PEPFAR, the most important public well being program in america, was began in 2003 by President George W. Bush. Since its launch, the U.S. authorities has invested greater than $85 billion in additional than 50 nations, saving an estimated 20 million lives.
Funds distributed by the scheme are used to assist prevention applications, testing and antiretroviral remedy for H.I.V. Some administrators have been heavy-handed in setting priorities for African nations, so a pacesetter like Dr. Nkengasong who is aware of and is trusted by Africans is a welcome change, specialists mentioned.
“To have any individual who’s a recognized determine each within the U.S. and around the globe, and in Africa, is an indication that they’re taking this critically — that they perceive that elevating up African management is actually essential,” mentioned Gregg Gonsalves, a longtime H.I.V. activist and an epidemiologist on the Yale Faculty of Public Well being.
Cameroon, Dr. Nkengasong’s nation of delivery, has a excessive prevalence of H.I.V. and tuberculosis. And he has been vocal in his assist of coaching native scientists and docs to guide public well being and analysis within the continent. In 2011, he helped set up the African Society for Laboratory Drugs.
Dr. Nkengasong was knighted in November 2018 by the federal government of Cameroon for his contributions to public well being. He serves as an adviser to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Improvements and the Worldwide AIDS Vaccine Initiative, amongst others. For his management within the Covid-19 pandemic, he was included in Time journal’s 2021 checklist of the 100 most influential folks.
The one draw back to Dr. Nkengasong’s main PEPFAR is that he’s additionally wanted to fight different infectious illness efforts in Africa, Mr. Gonsalves mentioned: “It’s a loss for Africa C.D.C.”