The United Nation (UN) office in Nigeria, says that the exemplary leadership demonstrated by the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, earned him the post of Assistant Director General of the Health Emergency Intelligence at the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Ihekweazu, who assumes duties at the WHO on November 1, 2021, steered Nigeria to a successful response to the enraging COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Erasmus Morah, of the UN system in Nigeria, said on Monday in Abuja, said Ihekweazu’s sterling performance has now been recognized not only in Africa but globally.
He was speaking at an event to reflect on the NCDC’s transformation journey and the collaborative efforts that have contributed to the journey in the country.
The News Agency Of Nigeria (NAN), reports that in 2016, the NCDC began activities to develop a 2017–2021 strategic plan. This was approved and launched in 2017.
In the last five years, NCDC has worked to implement this plan and developed a strong National Public Health Institute (NPHI) for Nigeria.
This year marks five years since NCDC began its transformation journey. In addition, this year marks a transition in leadership following President Buhari’s approval of Ihekweazu’s appointment as Assistant Director General at WHO and Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa’s appointment as the new Director General of NCDC.
Morah said that the partnership between the UN Development System in Nigeria and the NCDC had shown that working together, there is almost nothing insurmountable.
“It is one of the critical factors for Ihekweazu’s appointment to the WHO. Achieving global and national health security has increasingly become complex especially as people get more interconnected and interdependent with people, goods and services,” he said.
The WHO Representative for Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the need for countries to remain fully prepared to prevent and quickly contain such pandemics.
“COVID-19 has continued to be transmitted across countries,” he added.
According to Mulombo, Nigeria and many countries across the region appeared to have escaped the worst predicted catastrophe so far.
He noted that the NCDC played a critical role of putting into action a fully working government response and robust outbreak containment measures which helped to avert the catastrophe in the country.
He thanked the outgoing Director General for the cordial relationship that existed between the NCDC and the WHO under his leadership.
He, however, urged the incoming Director General to build on the NCDC five years legacy and put up an agenda for the next level efforts toward critical health security intervention, mainstreaming into the health delivery system that must be accelerated, efforts towards domestic funding and investment to advance the National Health security agenda and the global health security.