NCDC DG, Ihekweazu bags WHO top job




NCDC DG, Chikwe Ihekweazu

By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau 

Apparently impressed with the way and manner he has discharged his duties in Nigeria, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has been appointed as the Assistant Director General of Health Emergency Intelligence by World Health Organisation (WHO).

His appointment was contained in a letter signed by the WHO Director General, Tedros Ghebreyesus and addressed to all staff members of the organisation.

The Imo state-born Dr. Ihekweazu, an Infectious diseases  control expert, is  expected to resume his new position at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on  November 1.

The letter of  appointment obtained by Prompt News reads in part, “I am pleased to welcome Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu as an Assistant Director-General for Health Emergency Intelligence from November 1, 2021.

“He will lead the work on strengthening pandemic and epidemic intelligence globally, including heading the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin.

“Dr Ihekweazu is currently the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

“He was trained as an infectious disease epidemiologist, has over 20 years of experience working in senior public health and leadership positions in several National Public Health Institutes, including the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute.

“He has led several short-term engagements for WHO, mainly in response to major infectious disease outbreaks around the world”.

Dr. Ihekweazu who hails from Nkwerre LGA of Imo State was born to Nigerian-German parents in 1971. His parents met during protests of the Biafra war in South-Eastern Nigeria. 

His father was a Nigerian Medical  Doctor and the mother, a German Professor ensured that his early childhood started  in the small university town of Nsukka University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in Enugu state where he obtained his foundational education.

Young Ihekweazu’s secondary school education was obtained at the Federal Government College (FGCE), Enugu, from 1983 to 1989 before he proceeded to UNN to study Medicine. 

Ihekweazu holds an MBBS from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; a Diploma in Tropical Medicine at University of Heidelberg, Germany; a Masters in Public Health from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany; a Fellowship of the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training as well as a Fellowship of the UK’s Faculty of Public Health.

The NCDC boss was, until January 2018, when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him as NCDC DG, the Acting Director of the West Africa Regional Centre for Disease Control. 

He was trained as an infectious disease Epidemiologist and has over 20 years’ experience working in senior public health and leadership positions in several national public health institutes, including the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the UK’s Health Protection Agency, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

Dr. Ihekweazu has led several short-term engagements for WHO, mainly in response to major infectious disease outbreaks around the world.

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