On 12 April 2021, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Kofi Annan Foundation launched the Fellowship of Kofi Annan Global Health Leadership Programme which aims to support senior aspirational African public health leaders acquire advanced skills for transformational public health leadership in Africa. The programme is the first initiative under the Kofi Annan Global Health Leadership Program (KA-GHLP) that was launched on 25 May 2020 by the African Union Commission (AUC) and Africa CDC.
The leadership programme was established in honour of the late Kofi Annan, a visionary and principled leader as epitomized by one of his brainchild achievements, the establishment of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund) in 2001, which transformed the approach to preventing and managing infectious diseases and the practice of public health globally.
Through the Kofi Annan Global Health Leadership Programme, fellows will acquire advanced competencies in leadership, governance, health diplomacy, and management of public health initiatives in Africa over the course of 12 months. During that time, fellows will participate in five modules, with the first module focusing on public health leadership in Africa.
“Public health is interconnected with politics, policy and diplomacy, hence the need to create a whole generation of public health experts and leaders”, said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC. “The public health leaders we seek to develop will be part of the critical mass of leaders needed to resolve this pandemic and tackle other existing and future public health challenges on the continent – not just with technical skills, but also skills that can bring diplomacy, recognize globalization, protectionism and scientific data” he continued.
The fellowship received an overwhelming response to its launch, receiving over 600 applications from 44 countries. Through a vigorous selection process, the final selection of the inaugural cohort resulted in 20 fellows representing 14 AU Member States across all five AU regions.
The interim programme director, Dr Alex Coutinho, welcomed the fellows to the beginning of a lifelong journey of self-discovery and learning geared towards building a critical mass of public health leaders who will drive the agenda of health in Africa to benefit all of its people. He stated, “Leadership is about facing challenges, facing them head-on, while adapting to get the desired results”.
El Hadji As Sy, Chair of the Board of the Kofi Annan Foundation, underlined how the Kofi Annan Global Health Leadership Program is a powerful legacy for the vision, life and aspirations of the late Kofi Annan. He endorsed the objectives of the program to build leadership capacity and the focus on health and human development, without which Africa will continue to lag behind other continents.
For more information on the Kofi Annan Global Health Leadership Programme and the Fellowship in Public Health Leadership Program, please visit: Kofi Annan Fellowship in Public Health Leadership Programme.
About Africa CDC
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention is a specialized technical institution of the African Union established to support public health initiatives of Member States and strengthen the capacity of their public health institutions to detect, prevent, control and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats. For more information, visit the Africa CDC website.
About Kofi Annan Foundation
The Kofi Annan Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organization, established in Switzerland in 2007 by the late former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Foundation works closely with partners from international and regional organizations, foundations, universities and civil society. The Foundation channels expertise, convenes all stakeholders around the table and forges coalitions of trusted influence which can make change happen. For more information, visit Kofi Annan Foundation.
About Public Health England (PHE)
Public Health England is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, and a distinct organisation with operational autonomy. PHE works closely with public health professionals in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and internationally. PHE supports and works in partnership with Africa CDC in workforce development and has been key in the development and implementation of the Kofi Annan Global Health Leadership Programme at Africa CDC. For more information, visit the PHE website.