Chikwe Ihekweazu is the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and is currently leading the fight in Africa’s most populous country against COVID-19. Before his appointment at NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu has worked at the Robert Koch Institute, Germany; the Health Protection Agency, United Kingdom and the National Institute for Communicable Disease, South Africa.
He received his medical degree in 1996 from the University of Nigeria and earn a master in Public health from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany
Here are 10 Quotes of Chikwe Ihekweazu
1. “I hope my legacy is that my name will be completely forgotten and everyone will remember the institution that we have collectively built with many other Nigerians”.
2. “One of our biggest responsibilities is informing the public about the work that we do and the need to work together”.
3. “You can buy equipment but you need to train people, build confidence, get the specimens into the laboratory and get the results out. It is about building a system, which is a work we are doing every day”.
4. “At the heart of my work at the moment is making sure that the capacity required to establish a surveillance system is put in place”.
5. “Our priority at the moment is to deal with what we call epidemic prone diseases and once we can get a better hand of that, we will be expanding our scope and make sure that Nigerians are protected from all diseases that can cause harm”.
6. “No outbreak starts as a huge outbreak, each outbreak starts with a single case with a set level of uncertainty about the diagnosis and that’s when the conversations need to happen, not when you have a cluster of a hundred cases – if we wait for that cluster of a hundred, then we have lost an opportunity to respond”.
7. “We are asking everyone to take responsibility, do what they can do, get their children immunized, keep their environment clean, get the heaps of refuse out of the front of their homes and just make a bit of an effort to keep themselves healthy. And we will continue to work in supporting everyone and the heath care till it is better and organized”.
8. “For us, the biggest challenge with surveillance is not necessarily the identification of a disease, it is the laboratory confirmation. For laboratory confirmation we need strong public health laboratories with the capacity, human resources and specialist equipment to make this diagnosis”.
9. “I do not think we should all be painted with the same brush. There are quite a number of government agencies and Nigerians that are working very hard and in difficult circumstances and long hours and really trying to do their best to do the work they are supposed to do. While we have every reason sometime to be skeptical about government, we should also be proud of those people working hard to make a difference”.
10. ” I think we really have a challenge with infectious diseases, not just about malaria. Almost every infectious disease present in a similar way with a fever and for very long, Nigerians have treated every febrile illness as if it is malaria. Now, we know that there are many other causes of febrile illness in our environment that we have to be prepared to manage all of them”.