About this event

  • Date and time Thu 19 Nov 2020 from 12:30pm to 1:15pm
  • Location Online

Register to join Episode 51 'The African experience' on Zoom here.

In this episode, a panel of expert speakers will discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across Africa.

Moderated by Dr Ebere Okereke, Consultant in Global Public Health for Public Health England, the panel will include Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Magda Robalo, Minister in the Office of the President and High Commissioner for COVID-19 for Guinea-Bissau, and Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

The webinar will offer an overview of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa so far, looking at what the key successes and challenges have been, and what the world can learn from the African response to COVID-19.

The panel will also look at how the virus has been managed alongside other epidemics like ebola and cholera, what role new public health organisations have played in the response, and what the future holds for the health security of African countries beyond the COVID-19 experience.

Register for this free webinar on Zoom.

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Key speakers

Dr Ebere Okereke

Dr Ebere Okereke

Consultant in Global Public Health, Public Health England

Speaker's biography

Dr Ebere Okereke is a public health physician with over 25 years’ experience in communicable disease control and global health security.


Ebere currently leads Public Health England’s UK-aid funded IHR strengthening project; a technical assistance project aimed at enhancing capacity for compliance with the International Health Regulations, and strengthening public health systems through partnerships between public health institutions. The project works in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia, Pakistan and Myanmar; and with Africa CDC and WHO.


Ebere is passionate about supporting the development of women leaders and describes herself as an intersectional feminist.


Ebere is an alumni of the LSHTM Global Health Executive Leadership programme.

Chikwe Ihekweazu

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu

Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

Speaker's biography


Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu is the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and was until January 2018, the Acting Director of the Regional Centre for Disease Control for West Africa.


Dr Ihekweazu trained as an infectious disease epidemiologist and has over 20 years’ experience working in senior public health and leadership positions in several National Public Health Institutes, including the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the UK's Health Protection Agency, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI).


Dr Ihekweazu has led several short term engagements for WHO, mainly in response to major infectious disease outbreaks around the world including the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Dr Magda Robalo

Dr Magda Robalo

Minister, Office of the President and High Commissioner for COVID-19, Guinea-Bissau

Speaker's biography

Dr Magda Robalo is the High Commissioner for COVID-19, in charge of coordinating the National Response to the pandemic in Guinea-Bissau. She is the immediate past Minister of Public Health in the first parity Government of Guinea-Bissau. She is Adjunct Professor at Griffith University, member of the Malaria Elimination 8 Board and the Chair of the Ethics and Governance Committee of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. 


She joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1998, to lead a distinguished career that spanned 20 years, after a stint at UNICEF and Plan International. In these two organisations, she was involved in boosting immunization, polio eradication and nutrition programmes in the former and in setting up a community malaria programme, built around education and revenue generation schemes for women in the rural, remote regions of Bafatá and Gabú in the latter. 


Dr Robalo held senior positions at WHO, serving as Malaria Regional Advisor (2002-2007) and WHO Representative to South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Ghana (2007-2015) before becoming the Director of Communicable Diseases (2015-2018), leading WHO’s work on HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Climate Change, Water and Sanitation, Human Environment Protection and Vector Control in the African Region.

John Nkengasong

Dr John Nkengasong

Director, Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Speaker's biography

Prior to his current position, Dr John Nkengasong served as the acting deputy principal director of the Center for Global Health, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), and Chief of the International Laboratory Branch, Division of Global HIV and TB, US CDC.


He received a Masters in Tropical Biomedical Science at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium and a Doctorate in Medical Sciences (Virology) from the University of Brussels, Belgium.


He has received numerous awards for his work including Sheppard Award, the William Watson Medal of Excellence, the highest recognition awarded by CDC. He is a recipient of the Knight of Honour Medal by the Government of Cote d’Ivoire, was knighted in 2017 as the Officer of Loin by the President of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall, and knighted in November 2018 by the government of Cameroon for his significant contributions to public health.


Dr Nkengasong is an adjunct professor at the Emory School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.  He serves on several international advisory boards including the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiative (CEPI) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) among others. He has authored over 250 peer-review articles in international journals and published several book chapters.



Disclaimer: All views expressed in this webinar are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM nor the speaker's organisations.

Special rates for difficult times

The RSM wishes to offer healthcare professionals continued learning opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. The RSM’s weekly COVID-19 Series webinars remain free of charge, while there will be small charges to register for other online education. These fees will enable the RSM to continue its programme of activities and will apply during the course of the pandemic.

This webinar will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be distributed in future on various internet channels.

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