Nigerian Ministers of Health communicating with new media tools


Communication is critical to leadership, critical to management, and extremely critical to health care; from the nurse to the Minister. Communication lies at the heart of every aspect of health; including disease prevention, health promotion, treatment and care. Therefore; timely, accessible 
and credible health information is critical for improving public health outcomes.

Yet, in our Nigeria, communication has been overlooked, at all stages of contact with the health system – from the nurse to the Minister! The patient (the “population” for us in public health) should be at the centre of all communication about health. Sadly – at best we receive a few tablets and are asked to take it 3 times a day! This is not fit for purpose in 2011. Our doctors, nurses, pharmacists must communicate better, with respect and humility. Our Ministry of Health must communicate better with the population they have been called to serve.

We have highlighted in the past the relatively good website of Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health set up for them by the DFID sponsored Partnership for Transforming Health Systems II. The structure of the website is great, but there are still a lot of improvements possible.The Department of Public Health consists entirely of 1 page of information, while that of the Department of Hospital services, on which the Ministry spends 80% of its resources is “still being developed“…but we are indeed hopeful. The biggest deficit with the website is the absence of any interactive features – so communication is uni-directional; from them to us! But, before any of you reading this complains, visit the website of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Education – gosh…can’t we do better?

But there is some hope in the horizon! Our Minister of Health has signed unto Twitter. Please follow him on @FMOHNigeria….and while you are at it, follow us at @NigHealthWatch!

In addition the Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammad Ali-Pate, will be speaking and taking questions at a Webinar (short for Web-based Seminar) organised by the Anadach Group. All you need is electricity, a computer and broad band Internet access.  Okay…I realise that these are not easy to achieve in our beloved country – but we are famed for our resilience and innovation so we will find a way to attend.

It holds tomorrow, September 7th 2011, 6 – 7 Central Naija Time, 7 – 8 pm GMT,  2-3pm EST

Details below…. don’t miss it. if we do not engage our leaders directly on the issues dear to our heart, then we loose the right to moan to ourselves….

For questions pls go to the website of the organisers…..

Anadach Webinar Series: Please join the Minister of State for Health for Nigeria on Sept 7th 2011 at 2-3pm EST


Wednesday September 7, 2011 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST
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Dear Friends,

Nigeria has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. Horror stories from Nigerian hospitals are not uncommon. Are you wondering what the Federal Government is doing to respond to these challenges? Are you trying to figure out how to improve the health system?

Please join the Honorable Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammed Ali Pate, via a Webinar on September 7th 2011  between 2  to 3 pm EST. The Honorable Minister is also a member of the newly formed economic team.  He will be sharing the Nigerian Government’s approach to address some of the key health issues. He also wants to hear from you! What questions have you been wanting to ask?  

This is the first in the series of Anadach Webinars targeting African Health Professionals in the Diaspora.  Please send any questions you might have to  There will be an opportunity to ask the Honorable Minister these questions and others after his presentation.  

For more information on the Webinar and to register, please  click here or go to and look under the new events tabs.    Please feel free to forward to other friends or colleagues who may be interested. Participation is limited so please register as soon as possible.

Tell them to click on the link below to register or RSVP.
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Dr Pate is Minister of State for Health in Nigeria. His appointment in July, 2011 follows his success as the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in Nigeria.He also serves on the agenda committee of the World Economic Forum. Dr Pate is an American Board-Certified MD in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, with an MBA (Health Sector Concentration) from Duke University. A medical graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, he also holds a Masters in Health System Management from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Global Health of the Duke University Global Health Institute. He is also a member of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Vaccination and Humanitarian Emergencies at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.
Fiemu Nwariaku, MD – Associate Dean for the Office of Global Health, Associate Professor and Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Surgery at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.  He is the holder of the Malcolm O. Perry, Professorship in Surgery.  He received his medical degree from University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria and completed his surgical residency at UT Southwestern Medical Center where he also spent two years as a Research Fellow. He currently has an interest in endocrine and minimally invasive surgery.  He maintains an active NIH-funded laboratory studying endothelial signaling during inflammation and angiogenesis.  His clinical interests are in thyroid cancer, hormonally active adrenal tumors and primary hyperparathyroidism.Dr. Nwariaku has held significant interest in Global Health in general and surgical disparities, in particular, and was recently named Associate Dean for the Office of Global Health at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. His new plans for global health will encompass exchange programs, global research consortia and telemedicine opportunities, as well as identifying funding opportunities to advance global health missions. Dr. Nwariaku served as President of the Association for Academic Surgery during which time he created the global affairs committee for that association.  He has been a leading force in teaching and developing medical training initiatives in West Africa, South America, China, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Dr. Nwariaku serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Surgical Research and the Journal of Thyroid Research, and as an invited reviewer for journals including the American Journal of Surgery, African Health Sciences and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.


Dr Egbe Osifo-Dawodu is a founding partner at Anadach Group. She was previously an Adviser at the new Innovation Practice at the World Bank Institute. Prior to that, she managed the Human Development Group at the World Bank Institute. Egbe has over 23 years experience in the healthcare industry. A medical graduate of University of Ibadan, she also holds an MBA from Cranfield School of Management and an MSc from Oxford University. 


Anadach Group

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.

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