The Federal Government has hailed the former Director Genera, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, for improving Nigeria’s health security capacity as evidenced by the improved resources for infectious diseases control in the country.
It said Ihekweazu’s appointment by the World Health Organisation (WHO) was a recognition of his excellence and professionalism and reiterated Nigeria’s contributions to global health.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Mamman Mahmuda, on Tuesday praised Ihekweazu for his leadership of the agency in the past five years.
“Dr Ihekweazu joined NCDC as a nascent institution and has led the agency through a period of remarkable transformation and global recognition.
“Under his leadership, Nigeria’s health security capacity has improved, evidenced by the improved capabilities and resources for infectious disease control.
“His appointment by WHO is a recognition of his excellence and professionalism and reiterates Nigeria’s contribution to global health,” he said.
Mahmuda said that the Federal Ministry of Health also welcomed the appointment of Dr. Ifedayo Morayo Adetifa, by President Muhammadu Buhari, as the incoming Director General of the NCDC.
“This follows the recent appointment of the current NCDC Director General, Ihekweazu as Assistant Director General of Health Emergency Intelligence at WHO.
“Adetifa is an Epidemiologist and Consultant Paediatrician who is currently an Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), United Kingdom.
He is also, ”a Clinical Epidemiologist at the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP), Kilifi, Kenya.
“A graduate of the College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, he completed specialist training in Paediatrics and Child Health at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, to become a Fellow of the West Africa College of Physicians.
“During residency, he also received training in infectious diseases at the Infectious Diseases Institute, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, and at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium.
“Dr. Adetifa’s breadth of experience includes an assessment of the impact of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine introduced in Nigeria in 2015, on the application of the vaccine sero epidemiology for estimating population immunity, force of infection and vaccination coverage in African settings, and COVID-19 epidemiology.
“He currently serves on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Africa Regional Immunisation Technical Advisory Group, Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme Advisory Group, WHO Technical Advisory Group for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Vaccines, and on the Kenyan National Immunisation Coordinating Committee.
“Since 2020, he has been a Commissioner for the Lancet, Nigeria Commission, and the co-lead of the Commission’s Burden of Diseases Working Group.
“As incoming Director General of NCDC, Adetifa will carry on the mandate of the agency in leading the prevention, preparedness for, detection of and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies in Nigeria,” the permanent secretary said.
President Buhari had directed a smooth transition by Nov. 1, as staff of the agency continue the delivery on their mandate and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other diseases outbreaks in the country.