Yaoundé, Cameroon – From September 5 to 9, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Dr. John Nkengasong visited Yaoundé to underscore the U.S. government’s longtime, ongoing commitment to supporting the HIV/AIDS response in Cameroon. Ambassador Nkengasong is the United States Global AIDS Coordinator and the Senior Bureau Official for Global Health Security and Diplomacy. As the first person of African origin to hold this position, Ambassador Nkengasong was born in Cameroon and received his B.Sc. from the Faculty of Science, University of Yaoundé. Prior to his current position, he was the first Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in 2017 and led the framework for establishing Africa CDC into an autonomous health agency of the African Union.
During his visit, Ambassador Nkengasong met with Minister of State, Secretary General at The Presidency, H.E. Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, and Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute, highlighting the longstanding U.S.-Cameroon partnership and Cameroon’s efforts to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. He also met with officials from the Ministries of External Relations, Public Health, Economy and Finance, Planning, Programming and Regional Development and met with USG-Funded health implementing partners, civil society, and multilateral partners to promote international cooperation with a focus on aggressive implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Country Operational Plan for Cameroon and global health security at the national, regional, and multilateral levels.
At a media roundtable hosted by the Emergency Operations Center to commemorate the 20th anniversary of PEPFAR, Ambassador Nkengasong emphasized the U.S. commitment to support Cameroon’s efforts on strengthening global health security to prevent, detect, control and respond to infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. PEPFAR has invested more than 385 billion francs CFA in Cameroon and is the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history, saving millions of lives around the world and making progress towards ending HIV as a global health threat by 2030.
As part of the visit, Ambassador Nkengasong gave a public lecture at the University of Yaoundé – Faculty of Medicine on the critical role of youth to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. In his exchange with the students, he encouraged young people to participate in HIV research and implementation science, stating: “No voice is too little to contribute…I’m here to listen to young people. You are the future; your active participation is required to sustain the gains we’ve made in the response and to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat.”
Ambassador Nkengasong also visited the Etug-Ebe Baptist Hospital, the community-based organization Horizons Femmes, and the National Public Health Laboratory to survey health projects funded by the U.S. government, meet and exchange with beneficiaries, and highlight the concrete achievements for the Cameroonian people from the U.S.-Cameroonian partnership. Alongside the Minister of Public Health, he announced USG financial support of $19 million for the second round of the Cameroon Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (CAMPHIA). He emphasized that CAMPHIA will provide an up-to-date understanding of the progress made in the HIV/AIDS epidemic response and inform the recalibration of programs to close the remaining gaps in Cameroon.
For more information about what the United States does in Cameroon, including in the field of health, please visit our website: https://cm.usembassy.gov/what-we-do-in-cameroon/