Ms. Akhona Tshangela is a trained field epidemiologist with more than 10 years of experience in public health in working in the laboratory, public health programs implementation, surveillance and public health data management. She is currently the interim Principal Program Officer were she oversees the operations of the Office of the Africa CDC Director and provide advise on all activities that affect agency wide policy, programmes, projects and initiatives while coordinating and leading on key priority initiatives of the Africa CDC within the Director’s office. She joined the Africa CDC in 2016 as one of the first staff members and has played a critical role in launching Africa CDC and developing its first programs. Prior to her current role she was the program manager for the Mortality Surveillance Program. In this role, she was responsible for designing and executing the program’s strategy for understanding the numbers and causes of death in African countries and improving the use of this data for decision making. Currently for the COVID-19 response she co-chairs the Science, regulations and standards technical working group; under the Africa Task Force on Coronavirus (AFTCOR), a joint partnership between Africa CDC, WHO AFRO and Member States, supporting Member States with making science based policy decisions. She also leads the knowledge management platforms, innovations and research for the COVID-19 response and part of the Steering Committee for the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition. Prior to joining Africa CDC, she worked at the Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis at the NICD.