Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama says “In this critical moment of a global fight against the COVID-19, Nigeria is behind the World Health Organization and urges you to remain focused in addressing not just the pandemic but other health challenges.”
The Honorable Minister made the declaration today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while receiving the new World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative (WR), Dr Walter Mulombo Kazadi who presented his Letters of credence to Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, signaling formal resumption of duties. The presentation which took place in Abuja, was witnessed by dignitaries from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and WHO country office.
During the brief ceremony, Mr Onyeama acknowledged the enormous contribution by WHO over the years towards attaining the highest levels of health by all Nigerians. He specifically appreciated the role of WHO in the response to COVID-19 and said that the Presidential Task Force as well as other coordination mechanisms benefitted from WHO’s technical expertise. “I have no doubt that you will make a positive impact on the health of all Nigerians.”
The Honorable Minister mentioned coordination among partners, especially in the humanitarian crisis as a challenge.
WHO and Nigeria signed the first bilateral agreement in 1962 and since then, WHO continued with a technical advisory role. Of late, the cooperation is more structured and is based on a jointly prepared document – - the Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS). The strategy is well aligned to the national priorities and allows WHO to support the government’s efforts to improve the health status of all Nigerians.
In his remarks, Dr Mulombo appreciated the warm welcome to Nigeria, noting that Nigeria’s political commitment to the COVID-19 response is commendable and the country is among those making the difference in the continent.
Dr Kazadi assured the Honorable Minister that he will work with other UN agencies and partners to support government in surmounting coordination challenges, especially in the humanitarian sector.
A national of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dr Kazadi, is a longstanding and well respected WHO international expert, a public health epidemiologist, leader and manager with over 30 years of progressive experience (including over 15 years at international level) in clinical practice, management of primary health care, health policy dialogue, health planning, governance and coordination, as well as implementation
Dr Kazadi brings to the country, extensive experience in the management of primary health care, an important attribute and an asset in the Nigerian context with primary health care as the bedrock of the National Health Policy and National Strategic Health Development Plan II in support of Universal Health Coverage and health related Sustainable Development Goals.
The WHO Representative is an accredited representative of the WHO Director-General and the Regional Director and is responsible for all negotiations with the host country. The WR also oversees relationships with the government, provides security for WHO personnel and facilitates functional common services arrangements with other UN agencies.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Nigeria.