By Victoria Onehi
The West Africa Institute of Public Health (WAIPH) has inducted 33 new fellows,20 members and awarded Certificate of Merit to 14 distinguised Nigerians. It also gave Fellowship Awards to former Liberian President Helen Johnson- Sirleaf,First female New Zealand Prime Minister,Helen Clerk,Dr Joanne Liu and 10 others for their contributions to public health.
Speaking during the ceremony,the Director General WAIPH and President Academy of Public Health, Dr Francis Ohanyido, said the Institute which is the leading regional nonstate health development organisation is focused on building a strong network of highly skilled and competent public health practitioners in the region and beyound.
Ohanyido said though many of the new fellows and others awarded had contributed to Public Health,their new status is a call to duty.”Whatever level you are in your profession,you should go all the way to contribute your quarter to the betterment of society in your field.So,we look to you as advocates and champions of public health,not only in Nigeria but globally for betterment of society.”
One of the new fellows and Head, Department of Public Health,Federal Ministry of Health who represented the Minister of Health Dr Salma Anas, said she was glad to become a fellow of the Institute as its a sign that her efforts and that of others is recognised.
She further said the COVID 19 pandemic showed the government the huge gap in human resources but government remains committed to achieving the Universal Health Coverage were every Nigerian will have access to quality health services.
” We are looking at how we will mobilise home-grown solutions to address our problems in Nigeria.We are leveraging opportunities within the private sector in Nigeria.We will strengthen relationship with the West African Institute of Public Health.” She said.
Another expert who was awarded for his contributions to the public health sector in Africa for the past 30 years, Deacon Mike Egboh said finding home-grown solutions to health challenges is the way to go adding that the National Health Development Plan should be followed by the government diligently.
Analysing Nigerias’ 2023 Health Budget,Director of Programmes at the Development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) Dr Stanley Ukpia said though a sum of 1.7 trillion has been budgeted for health from 800 billion in the previous year, government must continue to increase its budget for the health sector to reduce the human capital gap presently witnessed in the country.
The Executive Director, Development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC),Dr Judith Ann Walker received the Certificate of Merit while the dRPC received Certificate of Recognition alongside the Society of Family Health and JHPIEGO.
The newly inducted members took their oath of office and were welcomed into the Academy of Public Health by the President Dr Francis Ohanyido.The incoming President of the Academy Dr Ferhat Khan,thanked various organisations, health institutions and professionals for their partnership with the Institute.
The event was supported by the Partnetship for Advocacy in child and family health(Pacfah) at Scale, anchored by the development Research and Projects Centre.