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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Introducing Idris, Ahmed, and other fresh faces leading Nigeria’s health organizations

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On 15 February, President Bola Tibunu announced the appointment of Chief Executive Officers and Board Chairpersons for major health agencies, including the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

On the list of the appointees, Moji Adeyeye, Ibrahim Ahmed, and Tosan Erhabor were reappointed as the heads of NAFDAC, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), and Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) respectively.


The President described the development as part of “his commitment to deliver affordable and quality care to all Nigerians under governance and regulatory frameworks commensurate with international best practices.”

However, it is not clear if Mrs Adeyeye, who had earlier in December 2022 been reappointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari, will continue with her hitherto ongoing five-year second term in office, or if a fresh second term of office has just commenced with the new announcement by the President.

Meanwhile, meet some of the new health practitioners appointed to lead the major health agencies in the country amidst the challenges of brain drain, poor health funding, and the shortage of drug supply.


Olajide Idris – NCDC

Olajide Idris is an alumnus of the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos (CMUL), who on Monday took over from Ifedayo Adetifa as the NCDC DG.

Mr Adetifa, in 2021, took over from his predecessor, Chikwe Ihekweazu, an epidemiologist, who became the first substantive head of the disease agency in November 2018 following the signing of the NCDC Act into law.

The new helmsman, Mr Idris, is a seasoned medical practitioner with over 30 years of experience in Medical Practice, Healthcare Systems Management, Consulting, Pharmaceutical, and Research.

After he obtained his MBBS degree from UNILAG, Mr Idris went on to acquire a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) from Yale University, Connecticut, USA, and served as the Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Health from 1999 to 2007.


He was also the Commissioner for Health in Lagos State from 2007 to 2015 and the Medical Director at FHS Medical Consulting Limited until he was appointed the NCDC DG.

As the health commissioner in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre and arguably the country’s most densely populated, Mr Idris led the state’s fight against the dangerous Ebola disease outbreak in 2014.

The state’s swift response and the leadership roles played by Mr Idris in the country’s national response actions earned him global accolades. At the time, the United States of America was one of the many nations that sent a delegation to Lagos to understudy how the state was able to the people to victory against an unusual epidemic.

Speaking on the strategies deployed to win the battle against the disease at the time, Mr Idris was quoted to have said: “We swiftly worked together as a country when we discovered cases of the virus. The people of Nigeria were very cooperative. They followed the instructions that were given.”

In an official statement Monday and signed by the NCDC’s Head of Communication, Yahya Disu, the centre announced the transition of leadership noting that the Lagos State’s “health sector experienced significant health reform” under Mr Idris’ leadership as the Permanent Secretary and Commissioner for Health.

It, however, admitted that under the leadership of Mr Adetifa, NCDC made significant strides in fulfilling its mandate to prevent, detect, and respond to public health events amidst challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Mpox outbreak, Diphtheria epidemic, and other emerging public health concerns.

Fatima Kyari – MDCN

The new CEO of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Fatima Kyari is a renowned ophthalmologist and fellow of the Nigeria Academy of Medicine (FNAMed).

She obtained an MBBS degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and obtained a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) from the University of London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

READ ALSO: Tinubu appoints CEOs for major health agencies; NAFDAC, NCDC, others affected

She obtained a doctorate in Public Health from the same institution.

Abba Zubairu – NBSC

Abba Zubairu, who is now the board chairperson of the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC), served as the Medical Director of the world-leading Mayo Clinic in the United States of America.

He served as a Resident Doctor at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Hospital as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and undertook a Clinical Fellowship at the Harvard Medical School’s Transfusion Medicine Programme during which he obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Science at the same institution.


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