By Jennifer Ugwueke
The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, has been appointed as the Assistant Director General of Health Emergency Intelligence at the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Ihekweazu’s appointment – which comes into effect on November 1, 2021 – was disclosed in a letter signed by the WHO Director General, Tedros Ghebreyesus.
“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, a Nigerian national, who was born in Germany, is a graduate of the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria and has a Masters in Public Health from the Heinrich-Heine University, Dusseldorf, Germany. In 2003, he was awarded a Fellowship for the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training and subsequently completed his Public Health specialization in the United Kingdom.
“He is widely published in medical peer-reviewed journals,” Ghebreyesus’ statement partly read.
Sources in the NCDC also confirmed the development to Channels Television and disclosed that the inauguration of the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence is expected to take place later on Wednesday.
Dr Ihekweazu is expected to partake in a panel session at the ceremony, even as the hub seeks to bring together partners worldwide to collaborate and create tools and data needed for countries to prepare, detect and respond to pandemic and epidemic risks.
This special event will also include a ceremony to recognize Chancellor Angela Merkel’s outstanding leadership in global public health.