MOTIVATIONAL PERSONALITY OF THE WEEK- DR. CHIKWE IHEKWEAZU
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu is the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and was until January 2018, the Acting Director of the Regional Centre for Disease Control for West Africa.
He 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).
He has led several short-term engagements for WHO, mainly in response to major infectious disease outbreaks around the world.
Before the arrival of the current pandemic – Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria. He had led the agency in the fight against several infections and diseases, under his administration, the NCDC has tracked and accounted for over 70,000 illness and 2,700 deaths associated with Lassa Fever, Meningitis, Yellow Fever, Monkey Pox and Cholera.
With COVID-19 onboard, He and his team have been working round the clock formulating and implementing various strategies, tracking, testing and reporting cases as well as sensitizing the public of the virus in order to curb the spread and ensure the safety of Nigerians.
We, at (Vi-M) wish to recognize and appreciate his efforts so far in the war against Covid-19 and his interminable service to humanity as a whole.
PROFILE OF DR. CHIKWE IHEKWEAZU
- Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu was born in the south-eastern part of Nigeria in 1971, a year after the region had lost the Biafran War for independence from the rest of the country.
- He was born to a Nigerian-German parents. His father is a Nigerian doctor and the mother, a German professor.
- He holds an MBBS (College of Medicine) from the University of Nigeria.
- He has a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from the Heinrich-Heine University, Dusseldorf, Germany.
- In 2002, he became an epidemiologist at what is now Public Health England in Bristol, UK.
- In 2003, he was awarded a Fellowship for the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET) and subsequently completed his Public Health specialisation in the UK. He is widely published in medical peer review journals.
- One of his mentors was James Stuart, a Bristol-based consultant for the World Health Organization (WHO).
- He was once assigned to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli in Cornwall, UK.
- In 2007, He attended his first TED conference in Tanzania.
- He had always nurtured the idea of going back to Nigeria but it was fired up after he attended the TED conference in Tanzania and then shared the thought with his friend Mr. Ike Anya.
- He then criticized Nigeria for being unprepared for epidemics in his blog- 2009–10 H1N1 influenza pandemic, “Nigeria needs a central, well-resourced centre for infectious disease prevention and control, or one day we will pay the price the hard way”. Out of the blue, Nigeria’s then health minister wrote to him to say that he was in London and wanted to meet. They talked at a coffee shop about fighting flu.
- In 2011, he moved to Johannesburg, South Africa with his family to become the co-director of the Centre for Tuberculosis at the South Africa National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa and later as a medical epidemiologist consultant at United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency.
- He was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on 15 August 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
- Following Nigeria’s National Assembly bill and act, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) became an independent agency on 13 November 2018 and he emerged the first Director General of the agency.
- He co-founded EpiAFRIC and Nigeria Health Watch as managing partner and editor respectively.
- He is married his wife Vivianne Ihekweazu in 2003 and they have two children.
- During the 2019-2020 COVID 19 Pandemic, he was part of a team of experts of the World Health Organisation on a joint mission to study the epidemic in China.
Celebrate You Sir, Thanks for all you do