Gates Foundation Honors Africa CDC Director

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has named the Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Dr. John Nkengasong, as winner of the 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award.

As part of its annual Goalkeepers campaign, the foundation also announced three other Goalkeepers Awards and launched two innovative partnerships that address the impact of COVID-19 on Kenya’s health and economy.

“Dr. Nkengasong and his team at Africa CDC are deeply deserving of this award,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in a recent statement.

“Their commitment to securing the latest innovations from elsewhere in the world—as well as developing them themselves—will go a long way towards ensuring that the continent has the vaccines and medicines it needs to fight COVID-19.”

In addition to Nkengasong, this year’s awards went to Hauwa Ojeifo of Nigeria, Bonita Sharma of Nepal, and the MASH Project Foundation based in India. Each was recognised for playing a role in addressing the effects of COVID-19 in their communities.

The 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award recognises an established individual demonstrating significant commitment to health and development, specifically in response to the pandemic.

The award is being presented to Nkengasong, a central voice for Africa’s scientific community.

As co-chair of the Africa CDC Consortium for COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials (CONCVACT), Nkengasong is leading the securement of a variety of late-stage vaccine clinical trials on the continent by bringing together global vaccine developers, funders, and local facilitators.

This work will be vital to ensure that the most promising vaccine candidates for the African population are identified and scaled up.