The new Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Adetifa Ifedayo, has assumed office after his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari approved Ifedayo’s appointment on 6 September, 2021.
He took over from his predecessor, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, on Monday in Abuja.
The official handover ceremony was witnessed by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.
The ceremony was also used to celebrate the remarkable transformation journey of NCDC in implementing its 5-year strategic plan for national health security in line with its mandate to lead the preparedness, detection and response to public health emergencies.
Ifedayo’s appointment followed the appointment of Ihekweazu as Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), to head its new pandemic intelligence hub in Berlin from November 1.
Under the leadership of Ihekweazu from 15th August, 2016, the agency has witnessed transformational growth from a young parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Health to a science-based institution leading the public health response to the largest pandemic in history.
According to Ihekweazu, despite the general pessimism at the ability of public institutions to deliver on the NCDC’s mandate, his vision was to build the confidence of Nigerians in the NCDC as the body established to protect the health of citizens.
He noted that his visionary leadership at NCDC had enabled the establishment of strategic partnerships and exponential investment in research, infrastructure, and human capital development critical to strengthening Nigeria’s health security.
During this time of transformation, Ihekweazu said that there was no better person to lead the young agency than his successor.
“Dr Adetifa is a proven leader with strong epidemiology, academic, and research background as well as the ability to bring people together.
“His vision for effective utilisation of scientific evidence to prevent, detect and respond to public health emergencies is exactly what NCDC needs build on the gains achieved so far,” he added.
“The incoming DG, Dr Adetifa is a Clinical Epidemiologist with a strong public health and research background. Prior to his appointment, he was an Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
“He has also held several vaccine policy advisory roles including membership of WHO’s Advisory Group for Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme.
“Dr Adetifa received his undergraduate medical training at the University of Ilorin and completed his residency training in paediatric at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
“He holds an MSc in Epidemiology from LSHTM and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Amsterdam,” he noted.
While accepting the baton of leadership from the outgoing NCDC director-general, Ifedayo declared his plans for the future with NCDC:
“I must congratulate Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu and the NCDC team for the incredible work being done thus far as well as the natural end of his leadership and the smooth transition process I have witnessed so far.
“For several years now, I have closely followed the activities of the agency without any knowledge of the possibility of ever leading it.
“My focus in the next few weeks is to work with colleagues to understand their work better so we can collectively build on the gains made so far, in line with the NCDC mandate.”
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