The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Tuesday 3 March 2020 announced that the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has been quarantined for 14 days.
The Minister made this disclosure before the Senate leadership while updating the law makers on the activities of his ministry to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Explaining the reason behind the action, Ehanire told the Senate principal officers that Ihekweazu was quarantined because he just returned from China.
He said the standard practice was for anyone coming into Nigeria to be quarantined for 14 days before associating with other members of the public.
Recall that the Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had on Friday 28 February 2020 announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Lagos, Nigeria. The index case according to the release was an Italian man who flew into the country on 24th February 2020 aboard Turkish airline from Milan, Italy. He traveled on to his company site in Ogun state on 25th February. On 26th February, he presented at the staff clinic in Ogun and there was high index of suspicion by the managing physician. He was then referred to Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Yaba, Lagos where he is receiving treatment and is said to be clinically stable. All those who he made contacts with are reportedly on watch and quarantined.
Brief About Chikwe Ihekweazu
Chikwe Ihekweazu is the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and was until January 2018, the Acting Director of the Regional Centre for Disease Control for West Africa.
Dr Ihekweazu trained as an infectious disease epidemiologist and has over 20 years’ experience working 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). Dr Ihekweazu has led several short-term engagements for WHO, mainly in response to major infectious disease outbreaks around the world.
Dr Ihekweazu is a graduate of the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria and has a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from the Heinrich-Heine University, Dusseldorf, Germany. In 2003, he was awarded a Fellowship for the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET) and subsequently completed his Public Health specialisation in the UK. He is widely published in medical peer review journals.