Roch Christian Johnson
President, International Leprosy Association
After obtaining his medical degree in 1997, Dr. Johnson opened a Buruli ulcer center in Lalo, Department of Couffo in Benin. From 1998 to 2003, he organized the management of Buruli ulcer and leprosy patients in the Mono-Couffo region (detection, management, training of health staff and participation in Buruli ulcer and leprosy). At this time, little was known about Buruli ulcer. In order to improve the control of the disease, it was urgent to learn more about its epidemiology and treatment. With the support of the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM, Antwerpen, Belgium), Dr. Johnson started a research program, with the possibility to start a PhD studies on the human and environmental factors related to Buruli ulcer.
In 2003, Dr. Johnson was appointed as Manager of the National Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Program in Benin. This position gave him the opportunity to develop the program both for control and research. In 2005, he defended his PhD thesis at the University of Abomey-Calavi with the support of the ITM, Antwerpen. After seven years as Manager of Buruli ulcer control program in Benin he was recruited in 2010 by the Raoul Follereau Foundation as regional advisor for Buruli and leprosy control in francophone Africa.
In 2016 Dr. Johnson was elected President of the International Leprosy Association at the last International Leprosy Congress in September 2016 in Beijing, China. In addition to this position, he is Associate Professor in Public Health at the University of Abomey-Calavi. Benin.