The Director of the African Union’s Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Africa CDC, Dr John Nkengasong, has been awarded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award.
Dr Nkengasong received the award on 23rd September, 2020.
The award celebrates an established individual or group who has demonstrated commitment to the global development goals through impactful work during or in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in their country and/or globally.
On behalf of the Chairperson of the AUC, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Commissioner Amira congratulated the 2020 winner and paid tribute to him for his leadership, dedication, passion, patience, engagement with other public health officials, building of partnerships, and coordination of member states in the continental COVID-19 response.
“After working with you for the past four years, I can attest that you deserve this award and that you are really a goalkeeper,” the Commissioner said.
In his acceptance speech, Dr Nkengasong paid tribute to the leadership of the African Union, particularly the Chair of the AU Commission Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chair of the AU, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Commissioner Amira, for their “unwavering support for the Africa CDC, and their leadership in the COVID-19 response”.
He also thanked the BMGF for the “truly remarkable partnership with Africa CDC, right from the beginning”.
He said this early support showed the foundation’s faith in the vision and wisdom of Africa’s Heads of State and Government in charting and creating a continental public health institute.
He also recognised all the other partners working with the Africa CDC, his team at the Africa CDC and his family.
Representing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation , Mr Cheikh Oumar Seydi commented “We are here today because you, Dr. Nkengasong, are making big things happen, you are making progress happen, you truly embody what it means to be a Global Goalkeeper.”
“And we at the Foundation are immensely honoured to award you the 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award,” he added
Part of the message from Bill and Melinda Gates, reads, “You are an important and central voice for Africa’s medical community, but more broadly, your collaborative work across continents and your advocacy for equitable healthcare for all, demonstrates exactly what it means to be a Goalkeeper.”