Magda Robalo

High Commissioner for COVID-19
High Commission for COVID, Presidency of the Republic

Dr. Magda Robalo is the High Commissioner for COVID-19, in charge of coordinating the National Response to the pandemic in Guinea-Bissau. She is the immediate past Minister of Public Health in the first parity Government of Guinea-Bissau. She is Adjunct Professor at Griffith University, member of the Malaria Elimination 8 Board and the Chair of the Ethics and Governance Committee of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She led an outstanding career of over 30 years in the public health field. Magda is an audacious thinker, always enthusiastic about the opportunities and a believer in the possibilities to turn things around, for the betterment of people’s lives. She is actively supporting the careers of young female physician leaders from Portuguese speaking countries in Africa. She joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1998, to lead a distinguished career that spanned 20 years, after a stint at UNICEF and Plan International. In these two organizations, she was involved in boosting immunization, polio eradication and nutrition programmes in the former and in setting up a community malaria programme, built around education and revenue generation schemes for women in the rural, remote regions of Bafatá and Gabú in the latter. Dr Robalo held senior positions at WHO, serving as Malaria Regional Advisor (2002-2007) and WHO Representative to South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Ghana (2007-2015) before becoming the Director of Communicable Diseases (2015-2018), leading WHO’s work on HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Climate Change, Water and Sanitation, Human Environment Protection and Vector Control in the African Region. She coordinated a large and diverse team of experts to advise African countries and work with partners in shaping the health agenda, developing and implementing health policies, promoting innovative and lasting solutions to improve health and wellbeing and reduce poverty. Dr Magda Robalo received her medical degree from the University of Porto (Portugal), obtained a post-graduate diploma in Public Health and Tropical Medicine from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal) and a Masters of Sciences in Epidemiology from Université Laval (Canada).