The World Health Organization has appointed Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the current director general at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC), as the agency’s assistant director-general of health emergency intelligence. Dr. Ihekweazu is set to step into the role in November and lead the Berlin-based WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence.
The WHO said in a statement that the Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, is a partnership between itself and the German government.
The German government announced an initial investment of $100 million for the hub, enabling it to “harness broad and diverse partnerships across many professional disciplines, and the latest technology.” According to WHO, the hub is also expected to link “data, tools and communities of practice so that actionable data and intelligence are shared for the common good.”
Speaking at the hub’s inauguration Wednesday, WHO’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, described Ihekweazu as the perfect person to lead the hub. He said:
“He brings vision and experience and will be an excellent addition to our WHO leadership team,” .
Dr. Ihekweazu said he was excited to carry on the work of WHO and tackle global health challenges at an international level. In his words:
“I’ve worked at the country level for many years,. No country, no part of the world can do what we need to do. We need everyone to achieve global health goals together.”
ABOUT THE NCDC’s DR. IHEAKWAZU
Born in Germany, Dr. Ihekweazu studied medicine at the University of Nigeria and obtained a master’s degree in Public Health from the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in Germany.
Before joining the NCDC, Dr. Iheakwazu worked as a medical epidemiologist at the Berlin-based Robert Koch Institute and was co-director of the Centre for Tuberculosis at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Johannesburg.
Under his leadership, NCDC developed a blueprint for public health emergencies in Nigeria and has supported states across the country in acquiring capabilities for public health responses, such as tracking, testing, and isolation. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, NCDC played a critical role in Nigeria’s responses to yellow fever, Lassa fever, and Ebola.
By Oluwamayowa Akinyemi
Oluwamayowa Akinyemi is a digital and web content developer with experience in web content development and management as well as research and writing. He is an avid reader of random subject matters and a sucker for movies and video games. He is also passionate about youth empowerment and is a global affairs analyst and enthusiast.