“It is an extremely difficult decision,” Nkengasong says. At the end of May, as his colleagues were planning his farewell party, the virologist, his wife and their three children packed up their belongings. Goodbye Addis Ababa, hello Washington, where the headquarters of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is located. This is a logical decision, almost a return to his roots for a man who has been involved in the fight against AIDS since 1988, under the guidance of Cameroonian immunology professor Peter Ndumbe.
“Nearly 500,000 people died from HIV last year in Africa. That’s a lot,” says Nkengasong. “The HIV pandemic – I use the word pandemic deliberately – is far from over.”
The choice to leave was nevertheless a difficult one, continues the man who has been coordinating the continent’s Covid-19 response since the beginning of 2020 as head of Africa CDC, the
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