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).