Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has commended the appointment of Dr. Ifedayo Morayo Adetifa, as incoming Director General (DG) of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He thanked the outgoing NCDC Director General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, who was recently appointed Assistant Director General of Health Emergency Intelligence at the World Health Organisation (WHO) for his leadership of the NCDC in the last five years.
In a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Mamman Mahmuda, the minister noted that the incoming NCDC DG will carry on the mandate of the agency in leading the prevention, preparedness for, detection of and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies in Nigeria.
Adetifa is an Epidemiologist and Consultant Paediatrician, who is currently Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), United Kingdom, and Clinical Epidemiologist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kilifi, Kenya.
Adetifa currently serves on the World Health Organisation’s Africa Regional Immunisation Technical Advisory Group, Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme Advisory Group, WHO Technical Advisory Group for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Vaccines, and on the Kenyan National Immunisation Coordinating Committee.
Since 2020, he has been a Commissioner for the Lancet Nigeria Commission and the co-lead of the Commission’s Burden of Diseases Working Group.
He is a graduate of the College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Kwara State. He completed his specialist training in Paediatrics and Child Health at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, to become a Fellow of the West Africa College of Physicians.
According to Ehanire, “During residency, he also received training in infectious diseases at the Infectious Diseases Institute, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, and at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium.
“Dr. Adetifa’s breadth of experience includes an assessment of the impact of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine introduced in Nigeria in 2015, on the application of the vaccine seroepidemiology for estimating population immunity, force of infection and vaccination coverage in African settings, and COVID-19 epidemiology.”
While extolling the leadership role provided by the outgoing DG, the minister said Ihekweazu joined NCDC when it was a nascent institution and has led it through a period of remarkable transformation and global recognition.
He said: “Under his leadership, Nigeria’s health security capacity has improved, evidenced by the improved capabilities and resources for infectious disease control.
His appointment by WHO is recognition of his excellence and professionalism and reiterates Nigeria’s contribution to global health.