Huge Nigerian delegation at the World Health Assembly


If we can assume that the number of Nigerians that attended the recent Sixty-third World Health Assembly (WHA) that took place between the 17 – 21 of March 2010 is indicative of the priority given to health in the Nigerian polity, then we should be excited, very excited. The WHA is the annual meeting of Ministers of Health from all UN member states to agree on policy for the next year for the WHO. It will probably be the only WHA our Minister of Health gets to attend unless….

Anyways ….as usual our  Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Christian Onyebuchi Chukwu addressed the 63rd Session of the World Health Assembly.

Photo Credit – Vanguard Newspapers

He basically reported that …

1. Our president is dead and we have a new president…

2. On polio eradication we have made progress, but we are not there yet, but we are optimistic…

3. On the outbreak of epidemics in Nigeria in the recent past. We have effectively contained these outbreaks and put measures in place to ensure prevention of future outbreaks…

4. Nigeria is fully prepared for the Influenza A H1N1 virus out-break that has affected a large number of countries world-wide…

5. Nigeria is working hard to be on-track for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals…

6. Abuja the Federal Capital City is now a tobacco free city and many more cities are becoming tobacco free too…

7. We today have the most robust Malaria Control programme in the whole World…

8. Nigeria is on course to eradicate the Guinea worm Disease…

9 . Nigeria brings to this Assembly with a draft resolution on fake and counterfeit drugs in order to sanitize the chaotic drug distribution challenge…

10. We have a new plan: the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP)!

11. Finally, we thank  our development partners and…

12.  God bless you all.

 (Full address on the FMOH website).

Fellow Nigerians will be reassured that our interests were well represented at the Assembly as we had the fourth largest delegation (30 people!). Only China (ok… its them), Spain (European Presidency now), and Thailand (not a red shirt between them) had more people present. With 6 members of the press in the delegation one would expect extensive coverage in the press, debates etc…Well if you have seem any…let us know! I found one – Sola Ogundipe of the Vanguard Press – here.

Find below the full list of our noble country men who represented our interests (thank God there was no health crisis in Nigeria that week!). The full list of Nigeria and all other country’s if you wish to verify this is available at the WHA website here.

Chef de délégation – Professor C.O.O. Chukwu Minister of Health

Dr M.I. Uhomoibhi, Ambassador, Permanent Representative, Geneva
Mr L. Awute, Permanent Secretary
Dr M.M. Lecky, Director, Health Planning, Research and Statistics
Dr M. Anibueze, Head, Department of Public Health
Dr P.N. Momah, Head, Department of Family Health
Professor P. Orhii, Director-General, National Agency, Food and Drug Administration and Control
Professor J. Idoko, Director-General, National Agency for Control of AIDS/HIV
Dr M.A. Pate, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency
Dr H.E.M. Akpan, Chief Consultant, Epidemiologist
Mrs C.O. Yahaya, Minister, Permanent Mission, Geneva
Mr A. Jidda, First Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dr N.R.C. Azodoh, Assistant Director, MDGs/Resource Mobilization
Dr T. Avbayeru, Assistant Director, Multilateral
Mrs C. Ibekwe, Legal Adviser
Dr S. Ahmed, Technical Assistant
Dr A. Ikpeazu, Director Programme Coordination
Mr A. Adamu, National Primary Health Care Development Agency
Mr H.U. Yusufu, Director, Narcotics and Controlled Substances, Chairman, Federal Task Force on Counterfeit Drugs
Mr B.A. Usman, Senior Counsellor, Permanent Mission, Geneva
Mr A.G. Azubuike, Special Assistant
Mr E.A. Abanida, National Primary Health Care Development Agency
Mrs M. Makanjuola, Nigerian TV Authority, Health Correspondent
Mr S. Mohammed, Cameraman, Federal Ministry of Health
Mr G. Odemwinigie, Radio Nigeria
Mr N.L. Chukwu, Guardian Newspaper
Ms B. Akingbehin, News Agency of Nigeria
Mr S. Ogundipe, Vanguard Newspaper
Dr H.N. Yahaya, Chairman, NPHCDA Board
Mr C.A. Muanya, Guardian Newspaper
Mr E.T. Katsina-Alu, NAFDAC

The struggle as we say….continues!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (, which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

Discussion4 Comments

  1. Errr…40 delegates? Now we know why the Ministries spend so much on traveling allowance. Where were all of them during the AIDS conference?

  2. Thre is no reason to infer that the size of the Nigerian delegation has anything to do with how serious we are about addressing our various health challenges. It is simply a manifestation of our perennial approach to always bloat the size of any foreign delegation.
    For example, the South African Embassy in Nigeria is having it tough providing visas to the over 200 people presented by the NFF as the country’s delegates for the World Cup. (
    I however agree that we have made tangible progress in important aspects of Health as mentioned by the Minister.

  3. This is a shameful waste of public money. I am looking for a good reason why 40 people needed to be on board this one. And the journalists?

  4. Ehhhhh??? Are those lies told by the minister? Is Abuja really a tobacco free city? and since when did we have the most robust malaria programs in the world?

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