Biden to Nominate African Doctor to Lead PEPFAR
Dr. John N. Nkengasong set to head up United States’ global effort to combat HIV/AIDS
BY TAT BELLAMY-WALKER
President Joe Biden plans
to nominate renowned
African virologist Dr.
John N. Nkengasong to
lead the fi ght in ending the global
HIV/AIDS epidemic, according to
a White House statement released
on September 27.
Nkengasong, a US citizen hailing
from Cameroon, would also make
history as the fi rst person of African
descent in this role. If confi rmed by
the US Senate, Nkengasong would
become the ambassador-at-large
and coordinator of United States
government activities to combat
HIV/AIDS globally at the State Department.
He would oversee and
manage the president’s Emergency
Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.
Currently, the doctor heads the
Africa Centres for Disease Control
and Prevention. He formerly served
President Joe Biden intends to nominate Dr. John N. Nkengasong to lead the global fi ght against HIV/
as the acting deputy director at the
US CDC’s Center for Global Health
and was a board member for the
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
in New York.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/CDC GLOBAL
In a statement, Dr. Penninah
Iutung, the Africa Bureau Chief
for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation
(AHF), praised the president’s
“We believe Dr. Nkengasong is
well suited to lead PEPFAR because
his tireless efforts in fi ghting
COVID-19 as the head of ACDC
are widely praised across Africa.
As a virologist, he understands
both the HIV and the COVID-19
pandemics and has the requisite
managerial and scientifi c credentials
to successfully lead PEPFAR,”
Iutung said in a written statement.
“We hope the US Senate will fully
support Dr. Nkengasong’s nomination
and move quickly to confi rm
Iutung added, “To date, PEPFAR
has saved millions of lives, most of
them across Africa, and during the
ongoing pandemic it is also providing
indispensable COVID-19 relief.
With Dr. Nkengasong at the helm,
PEPFAR will continue its legacy
of lifesaving humanitarian work
funded by the generosity of the
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