Posted by: Andrew Lavelle; 18 May 2017; 7:06 pm
Dr. Yao is a native of Côte d’Ivoire and a Canadian citizen. He graduated as a medical
doctor with a specialization in disaster medicine from the joint program of the University of Abidjan
(Côte d’Ivoire) and Paris-V (France). In 2001, he obtained a Master’s Degree in Community Health from the University of Montreal where he was a PhD candidate in Health Services Management. He is passionate about the humanitarian work that he has done most of his career and in health services organization.
From 1995 to 1999, he worked with the Red Cross Movement as a medical emergency team leader,
then Coordinator of the healthcare program for refugees in Côte d’Ivoire, and finally as a consultant
for the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent for the assessment of national
Red Cross societies in West Africa in 1999. From 2001-2004, he worked as a Research and Teaching Assistant at the University of Montreal in charge of health program evaluation.
He began at the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2004, initially as Emergency and
Humanitarian Sub regional focal point for Central and East Africa based in Nairobi, later for the
Southern and East African region based in Zimbabwe, and then for West Africa based in Burkina Faso until 2010.
From 2010 to 2014, he joined WHO Headquarters in Geneva as senior public health advisor in charge
of support for emergency situations management to WHO Country Offices. He was involved in major
emergencies in Haiti, Pakistan, and the Philippines. In these emergencies, he advised on the situational assessment and the development of response and rehabilitation strategies. He set up
the WHO surge training of experts to be deployed in public health emergencies in 2012.
Since 2014, he is putting his wide public health experience in humanitarian settings at the service of the Central African Republic WHO office as Head of the Country Office. He was awarded
the highest distinction of the country in May 2016 for his contributions to the response to the crisis
and for the rehabilitation of the health system in the Central African Republic.