The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) expressed deep sorrow over the loss of Emeritus Prof. Umaru Shehu, one of its founding board chairs and a pioneer in Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS response, who passed away at the age of 97.
The director-general of NACA, Dr. Gambo Aliyu conveyed his profound sadness to reporters in Abuja, stating that Shehu’s death is a significant loss to the medical community and healthcare advancement in Nigeria. He noted that Shehu’s illustrious career included serving as vice-chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, from 1978 to 1980, and holding visiting professorships, notably at the School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, U.S., from 1976 to 1977.
Aliyu remarked, “Today, we mourn the loss of a towering figure in the medical world and a true champion of healthcare advancement in Nigeria. Shehu’s lifelong dedication to medical excellence and tireless efforts to improve healthcare systems have left an indelible mark on our nation”.
He emphasised that Shehu’s pioneering work not only enriched the field of medicine but also saved numerous lives. NACA draws inspiration from his legacy and is honoured to have had such a distinguished figure among its ranks.
Aliyu extended NACA’s deepest condolences to Shehu’s family, friends, and colleagues, acknowledging that his passing represents a profound loss to the entire medical community. Nevertheless, Shehu’s enduring legacy as a pioneer and visionary will continue to guide efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and enhance healthcare in Nigeria.
Throughout his illustrious career, Shehu earned recognition as a foundation fellow of esteemed institutions, including the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, the West African College of Physicians, the Nigerian Academy of Science and the Faculty of Community Medicine (Nigeria). In 1991, he was appointed Honorary Consultant Physician, a testament to his exceptional medical expertise. His dedication culminated in his appointment as Professor Emeritus in 2000.
As NACA bids a solemn farewell to Shehu, his memory will serve as an enduring inspiration for all those committed to advancing healthcare and combatting HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.