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Congolese Doctor named as Director General of African CDC

ADDIS ABABA – Dr Jean Kaseya,  Congolese medical doctor, has been named as Director General of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

The African heads of state Assembly approved Dr Jean’a consistency to lead the Africa CDC on the last day of their summit in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

The 53-year-old beat competition for the role from 180 applicants including the acting Africa CDC director Kenya’s Ahmed Ogwell.

He will take the role of Africa CDC’s Director general from the founding director, Cameroonian-American virologist Dr. John Nkengasong. 

Global health leaders were quick to send out congratulatory messages to Jean.

“Congratulations Jean Kaseya and wishing you all my best as you take on this vital role Africa CDC,” said Dr. John who left the position in May. 

Kaseya’s prior roles include nine years with UNICEF, two years with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and World Health Organization.

He also served as chief routine immunization officer and senior adviser to the DRC president.

“His years of experience working in international development and health will support the continued growth of @AfricaCDC,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said in a tweet. 

“I look forward to strengthening our partnership,” regional director Moeti added.

Dr. Kaseya will be based in Addis Ababa for the next four years in charge of the Africa CDC – an autonomous African body responsible for responding to public health emergencies in the continent.

The New GD’s Tasks at African CDC

“He will oversee the delivery of the core functions and key objectives of the organization, as per its statute,” said the African Union.

As per the statute, the mandate of the Africa CDC includes establishing “event-based surveillance in order to detect potential disease threats from informal, non-structured sources that often circulate outside the official health sector.”

Assisting member states to address gaps in international health regulation compliance; supporting public health emergency preparedness and response; and mapping the regional- and country-level hazard and risk assessments for member States are also among the mandets.

Director General Dr Jean “will also be responsible for the formulation and implementation of substantive work programs for the Regional Collaborating Centers and ensure that programmed activities are carried out in a timely fashion,” the Union added.