Africa CDC Chief Confirmed to Lead PEPFAR

ADDIS ABABA – Dr. John Nkengasong has been confirmed as Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator of United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Nkengasong to be the next U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, after he was nominated by President Joe Biden. 

He will now leave his top position at the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), to head the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR, a $7 billion operation.



“So humbled to have been confirmed by the U.S Senate to lead PEPFAR – a hugely impactful program in saving millions of lives with strong bipartisan support in ~20 years,” Dr. Nkengasong wrote on his twitter account.

The virologist with nearly 30 years of work experience in public health also thanked President Biden for the opportunity to serve as head of the PEPFAR, adding HIV/AIDS “remains a serious threat globally!”.

Nkengasong was one of the founding leaders of PEPFAR, launched in 2003. He left the U.S. in 2016 when he was appointed to serve as the founding director of the Africa CDC.

A Appreciated his Contribution 

In his congratulatory message, Chairperson of African Union Commission, Maussa Faki Mahamat expressed his “pride & deep appreciation” for Dr. Nkengasong’s leadership during his tenure at Africa CDC.

“Dr. Nkengasong’s public health statesmanship & technical coordination of the African Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as head of Africa CDC, will stand him in exceptional good stead as he gears up to lead PEPFAR,” said the AUC Chairperson.



The confirmation has also been “warmly welcomed” by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS or UNAIDS.

“This is great news for the world. John Nkengasong is an inspired choice to lead PEPFAR,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS.  “

“We need the kind of bold thinking and commitment that he has brought throughout his career,” she said, expressing her “true honor” in the prospect of working with Dr. Nkengasong in his new role.

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