Erasmus Morah, Director of UNAIDS China Office

Erasmus U. Morah has served the United Nations system across ten countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe for over three decades.

After serving with UNICEF for 12 years in Pakistan, Eritrea, Somaliland, Somalia and the Philippines, Dr Morah joined UNAIDS in 2002. He has served on the frontline of the global AIDS response as UNAIDS Country Director in Malawi, Kenya, South Africa and most recently Nigeria. Dr Morah served at UNAIDS headquarters as Division Director for Strategic Country and Regional Support, as well as for Programme Planning, Budget, and Performance Measurement.

During his early days in UNAIDS at the country level, Dr Morah established the first Joint UN Team on AIDS; influenced the issuance of a new UNAIDS/WHO global policy on HIV testing and counselling in favour of generalized and provider-initiated testing; pioneered the world’s first mass HIV Testing Week that was recognized and recommended by the UNAIDS Programme Coordination Board (PCB); brokered and forged one of Africa’s earliest AIDS SWAPs, or Pooled-Funding, with a resource envelope of $72 million from seven donors; led the country case study that helped to finalize and pave the way for the adoption of the ground-breaking UNAIDS Three-Ones principles of effective partner coordination; and drove, jointly with WHO, the rapid acceleration of AIDS treatment that became a model for resource-poor settings.

Dr Morah also conceptualized the analysis of “Modes of Transmission” adopted globally by UNAIDS, and which shifted the focus of HIV programming from generalized interventions to more targeted approaches, including for key populations. Over the years, he has supported five key frontline HIV countries to mobilize an excess of $1.5 billion from Global Fund and accelerated the achievement of the 90-90-90 UNAIDS targets in these countries. During his tenure at UNAIDS Headquarters in Switzerland, Dr Morah provided leadership, advice, and performance reporting to the UNAIDS PCB on all aspects of the UNAIDS Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework, with 11 Cosponsoring agencies and the Secretariat. He championed and led the reprofiling of UNAIDS “Country Coordinators” as “Country Directors,” situating their accountability within the UN Resident Coordinator system.

Dr Morah earned his Bachelor’s in General Arts and Science from the University of Alberta, Edmonton; Master’s in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University, Montreal; and PhD in Economic Development Planning from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. He has published numerous scholarly papers on diverse issues and topics in international journals and books, including more recently: U.K. Development Policy Review (2007, 2009); Turnaround: The Story of South Africa’s HIV Response (2016), South African Civil Society and the AIDS Response (2017); Sizonqoba: Outliving AIDS in Southern Africa (2017); and From the Darkest of Days to a New Dawn: 35 Years of the Nigerian Response to HIV and AIDS (2022).

Dr Morah is a Canadian national of Nigerian origin, married with three children.