In recognition of his exceptional leadership role in monitoring and mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic impact in Nigeria, the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas, NAPPSA, has decorated the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, with an outstanding leadership award.
Presenting the award to him, the NAPPSA President, Dr Anthony Ikeme, described Ihekweazu as one of the best infectious diseases experts in the world, who has got over 20 years
working experience in senior public health and leadership positions in several national public health institutes, including the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the UK’s Health Protection Agency, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
He said :”Dr Ihekweazu has led several short- term engagements for WHO, mainly in response to major infectious disease outbreaks around the world including the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”.
The pharmacists in the Diaspora also deemed it fit to honour the NCDC boss, who was the keynote speaker at the recently concluded
2020 NAPPSA Scientific Conference and Exposition held virtually.
Speaking on the choice of the theme of the conference, which is: “ COVID-19 Pandemic: Evolution of Science, Practice and Training”,
Ikeme said over the course of the pandemic, NAPPSA took a front row seat in everything COVID, as they participated in discussions and dissemination of scientific based information on COVID-19.
He however pointed out the summary of their
message to Nigeria and the global community saying :“This pandemic should not go to waste, rather lessons from it should be used to fortify and improve the healthcare systems going into the future”.
Ikeme urged Nigerians and other nations to learn from the NAPPSA experience, which never allowed the pandemic to halt their programmes as they advanced their outreach to support the Nigerian healthcare community through donation of COVID-19 diagnostics and personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“Our donation was accompanied by a call for the creation of a national strategy for pharmaceutical manufacturing in Nigeria.
“COVID-19 pandemic did not halt our progress in other areas of NAPPSA activities. Rather than dampen our spirit, it forced us to develop new strengths and build new competencies in uncharted territories. Our actions and accomplishments lent credence to the saying that “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
“Perhaps the biggest milestone from the last year maybe the creation of the NAPPSA 10-Year Strategy Plan. The plan creates a roadmap for increasing our organizational footprint and maximizing our impact as a professional organization both here and in Nigeria.
“The 10-year plan sets a timeline for reaching key visionary milestones including the creation of a NAPPSA Journal, establishing NAPPSA Endowment Fund, NAPPSA House and NAPPSA Research Institute.
“To enable us kick off the journey to the first $1M for the NAPPSA Endowment fund, we successfully completed our first ever 3K Walk/Run on September 19th and have already surpassed the $100,000 target for seed money. What a year it has been!”, he exclaimed.