Ms. Akhona Tshangela is a trained field epidemiologist, and first degree in human genetics, with more than 13 years of experience in public health in working in the laboratory, public health programs implementation, surveillance and data management. She is currently the program coordinator for Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), previously the Chief of Staff to the former Africa CDC director. She joined the Africa CDC in 2016 as one of the first staff members and played a critical role in pioneering the Africa CDC and supporting development of its first programs. During the COVID-19 response she co-chaired the Science, regulations and standards technical working group under the continental joint strategy, supporting Member States with making science based policy decisions. She also lead the knowledge management platforms for the COVID-19 response and part of the Steering Committee for the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition. Prior to working for the Africa CDC, she worked for the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa with a focus on respiratory pathogens.