Ihekweazu's kinsmen react to WHO appointment

NCDC DG Chikwe Ihekweazu

NCDC DG Chikwe Ihekweazu going to WHO Berlin

By Sumaila Ogbaje/Abuja & Cecilia Ologunagba/New York

Kinsmen of Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu in the Amaigbo Town Union (ATU) have congratulated their son on his appointment as the Assistant Director General, World Health Organisation (WHO).

Mr Jonathan Madumere, The President General of the union, commended the appointment and described it as deserving of a worthy son.

In a statement, Madumere said that the appointment was merited and praised WHO for its right choice.

“Appointment of an Umuakaku Umode Amaigbo son, a Medical guru, is indeed writing the name of Amaigbo on the annals of history and we commend our son for his hard work,” he said.

According to him, the appointment did not come to Ihekweazu’s kinsmen as a surprise, given his background and commitment service to humanity which runs in their linage.

Madumere recalled Ihekweazu’s antecedents in providing free medical care for his people at home, prompt service delivery as the serving Director General of the NCDC.

“We wish him well in his career as he advances to an international level and urged him to keep the good work going,” he said.

He called on other younger students and professionals in various fields of life to emulate Ihekweazu’s footprint of studious life and willingness to serve humanity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Ihekweazu, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), will head its new Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence based in Berlin, Germany.

Outgoing German Federal Chancellor, Dr Angela Merkel, and the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, inaugurated the hub on Wednesday to better prepare and protect the world from global disease threats.

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The hub aims at helping countries better assess and respond to global disease threats in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

It will bring together diverse partnerships from several disciplines and the latest technology, so that data and intelligence are shared for the common good.

“Critically, it will support experts and policy-makers worldwide to be able to forecast, detect and assess epidemic and pandemic risks so that they can respond rapidly to future public health emergencies.

“The world needs to be able to detect new events with pandemic potential and to monitor disease control measures on a real-time basis to create effective pandemic and epidemic risk management,’’ Ghebreyesus said in a press release.

According to him, the Hub will be key to that effort, leveraging innovations in data science for public health surveillance and response, and creating systems whereby we can share and expand expertise in this area globally.”

According to the statement, Germany has provided an initial US$ 100 million investment for the Hub.

Speaking at the launch, Merkel highlighted her country’s contribution to medical science, including developing tests and vaccines against the new coronavirus.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated how much we can actually achieve if we combine our strengths,” she said through an interpreter.

“Experts from all over the world at enormous speed have been able to enhance and share their expertise and knowledge in order to decode the coronavirus.”

The WHO Hub is currently operating from a centre provided by the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

It will soon move to a permanent campus at the heart of Berlin in Kreuzberg that will provide a collaborative work environment for the Hub’s staff, who will represent a wide range of disciplines.

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