The World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo has lauded the outgoing executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib for his pivotal contributions during the challenging times of wild polio and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mulombo made these remarks on Tuesday during a valedictory session held in Abuja to honour Shuaib, organised by the forum of CEOs of state primary healthcare development agencies/boards.
Shuaib assumed the role of executive director at the NPHCDA in January 2017, following his appointment by former President Muhammadu Buhari. However, his tenure ended on October 20, 2023, as President Bola Tinubu assumed the authority to appoint chief executive officers for agencies under the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
The new executive director of the NPHCDA, Dr. Muyi Aina was designated as the executive secretary/chief executive officer of the NPHCDA.
Mulombo commended Shuaib’s leadership style and highlighted his invaluable contributions to Nigeria’s healthcare sector. He emphasised Shuaib’s significant role during the Ebola outbreak and his leadership in achieving polio-free status for Nigeria, which was recognised by the WHO as a vital milestone.
According to Mulombo, Shuaib’s leadership and contributions were instrumental in the country’s efforts to combat these health crises. He acknowledged that Shuaib was leaving behind strong institutions, making the transition to a new leader smoother.
Mulombo concluded by expressing WHO’s commitment to following the path Shuaib had blazed, offering support for his future endeavours and recognising him as a prime example of courage and purpose.
Chief of health at UNICEF Nigeria, Dr. Eduardo Celades emphasised that true leadership goes beyond bringing about changes; it also involves connecting the past with the future and successfully driving necessary transformations.
Celades noted that Shuaib had been at the forefront of transforming Nigeria’s healthcare system, from eradicating polio to revitalising primary healthcare. He highlighted the impactful changes initiated during Shuaib’s tenure, such as transitioning from stand-alone campaigns to integrated ones, introducing the HPV vaccine, addressing rotavirus, implementing the PHC under one roof programme and making a significant difference in the lives of Nigerians, particularly women and children.
Celades praised Shuaib as a brilliant individual and expressed his pleasure and honour at being part of Shuaib’s journey.
Co-founder of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), Professor Oladapo A. Ladipo acknowledged Shuaib’s remarkable contributions to the field of healthcare in Nigeria. He highlighted Shuaib’s role in developing and training healthcare workers who have benefited communities across the country.
Ladipo also commended Shuaib’s effective utilisation of financial resources, emphasising that he had demonstrated efficiency and resourcefulness throughout his tenure at NPHCDA.