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06.13.2022

Dr. John Nkengasong as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

Washington, D.C. (June 13, 2022) – On the occasion of his inauguration, Project HOPE welcomes the Senate confirmation and swearing in of Dr. John Nkengasong as Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in the Department of State. PEPFAR remains the most significant global health initiative in the world.

With his recent experience as the inaugural Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Dr. Nkengasong brings extensive leadership capability to this position as the PEPFAR countries deal with COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, and other emerging threats like Monkeypox.

We applaud the Biden administration for selecting Dr. Nkengasong as a visionary to prepare PEPFAR programs and strategies for the next phase as the current legislation ends in 2023. Dr. Nkengasong is the first person of African origin nominated and confirmed as the US Global AIDS Coordinator.

While Dr. Nkengasong served in his previous role as Director of the Africa CDC, Project HOPE was privileged to partner with him and his team in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a comprehensive training program for African health workers on case management, COVID-19 vaccines, and mental health.

As Dr. Nkengasong noted in his opening testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 15, we are facing a critical moment as global health systems continue to endure the devastating impacts that COVID-19 has had on global HIV efforts. Project HOPE looks forward to continuing our engagement with PEPFAR under Dr. Nkengasong’s leadership to build back better global health systems to address HIV epidemic control issues as well as emerging threats to global health.

According to Dr. Tom Kenyon, Chief Health Officer at Project HOPE and former Director of the Center for Global Health at CDC, “Dr. Nkengasong is the right leader at the right time to take PEPFAR into the next phase. He has a natural ability to bring all the players to the table to address complex issues, and he was highly effective as director of CDC’s International HIV and TB Laboratory Branch in expanding laboratory testing around the world. His ability to work with a vast array of partners led to the establishment of the African Society for Laboratory Medicine.”

Dr. Nkengasong is a Cameroonian molecular virologist by training and has more than three decades of experience in global health. Said Dr. Nagesh Borse, Deputy Chief Health Officer at Project HOPE, “He played a pivotal role in establishing and strengthening the viral load testing network in Africa. Because of his efforts, more countries are able to measure progress towards reaching UNAIDS’s third 95-95-95 target, whereby 95% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.”

Since its founding more than 60 years ago, Project HOPE has strived to strengthen the capacity of health care workers and improve access to care around the world. Project HOPE looks forward to working with Dr. Nkengasong and his team to continue to save lives and build local capacity, especially in the effort to respond to the Ukraine crisis and support people living with HIV (PLHIV), including holistic care for those who are aging with HIV. We have complete confidence that during an era of increasingly complex global crises, he will bring his passion, commitment, and innovative thinking to strengthen PEPFAR further.

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About Project HOPE: With the mission to place power in the hands of local health workers to save lives around the world, Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian organization operating in more than 25 countries. Founded in 1958, we work side-by-side with local health systems to improve health and support community resilience. We work at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges, including infectious and chronic diseases; disasters and health crises; maternal, neonatal and child health; pandemic preparedness and response; mental health for health workers; and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. For more information, visit www.ProjectHOPE.org and follow us on Twitter @ProjectHOPEorg.

Contact: Courtney Ridgway, media@projecthope.org

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