Dr. Leo Zekeng

UNAIDS Country Director (July 2017 – Present)

Dr. Leo Zekeng brings 30 years of experience, competencies, and lessons from the AIDS response, Global Health Diplomacy and Development.

He joined UNAIDS in January 2005 and was most recently Deputy Director, UNAIDS Regional Support Team for West & Central Africa, Dakar, Senegal (2012-2017), covering 25 countries. Additionally, he previously served as UNAIDS Country Director in Ghana (2007-2012), Sierra Leone and Liberia (2005-2007).

Between 1986-2004, before joining UNAIDS, Dr. Zekeng served as Permanent Secretary of the National AIDS Council (Ministry of Health), Head of the AIDS Research and Innovation Unit (Ministry of Scientific and Technical Research) and Deputy Head, Department of Haematology and Immunology (University Teaching Hospital in Yaoundé) in his native Cameroon.

As  principal investigator for  several HIV/AIDS and STIs research projects [in collaboration with Family Health International 360 (USA) -  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (USA)  National Institutes of Health (USA) - Institute of Tropical Medicine (Antwerp, Belgium) - Abbott Laboratories (USA) - World Health Organization (Switzerland) - Institute of Virology (Kyoto University, Japan) - Max Von Pettenkoffer Institute (University of Munich, Germany) - Agence Nationale de Recherche sur le SIDA (ANRS, France) - Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD, Montpellier France)] , he is author of several publications in international peer-reviewed journals.

He is the co-discoverer of HIV-1 group O (strain MVP-5180), undertook several assignments for the World Health Organization - Global Program on AIDS (GPA), the German Technical Cooperation (GIZ), Medecins Sans Frontieres and Family Health International 360.

He was awarded the Cameroonian Order of Merit in recognition of his commitment and contribution to the national AIDS response and the 2015 United Nations Development Group Certificate of Appreciation for dedication, time, talent and contribution to UNDG WCA to UNCTs. 


Fluent in English and French, he holds a Doctorate Degree in Pharmacy – Major in Clinical Biology - and diplomas in Clinical Sciences (Human Virology, Immunology and Haematology).


He is married and father of four children. Follow UNAIDS on Twitter @UNAIDS