Nigeria: Foreign Affairs minister receives WHO Representative to address pandemic, health challenges

by Muizat Hameed

Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama has received the new World Health Organization Country Representative, Dr Walter Mulombo Kazadi, to discuss ways to address the Covid-19 pandemic and other health challenges.

While receiving the representative in Abuja on Friday July 10, 2020, Onyeama noted that Nigeria is far behind WHO in all efforts to tackle the pandemic.

“In this critical moment of a global fight against the COVID-19, Nigeria is behind the World Health Organization and urges you to remain focused in addressing not just the pandemic but other health challenges,” the minister said.

The Honorable Minister made the declaration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while receiving Dr Walter Mulombo Kazadi, who presented his Letters of credence to the minister, signaling formal resumption of duties.

The presentation which took place in Abuja, was witnessed by dignitaries from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and WHO country office.

During the brief ceremony, Mr Onyeama acknowledged the enormous contribution by WHO over the years towards attaining the highest levels of health by all Nigerians.

He specifically appreciated the role of WHO in the response to COVID-19 and said that the Presidential Task Force as well as other coordination mechanisms benefitted from WHO’s technical expertise.

“I have no doubt that you will make a positive impact on the health of all Nigerians.” Mr Onyeama said.

The Honorable Minister mentioned coordination among partners, especially in the humanitarian crisis as a challenge.

Dr Mulombo appreciated the warm welcome to Nigeria, noting that Nigeria’s political commitment to the COVID-19 response is commendable

WHO and Nigeria signed the first bilateral agreement in 1962 and since then, WHO continued with a technical advisory role.

Of late, the cooperation is more structured and is based on a jointly prepared document – – the Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS). The strategy is well aligned to the national priorities and allows WHO to support the government’s efforts to improve the health status of all Nigerians.

In his remarks, Dr Mulombo appreciated the warm welcome to Nigeria, noting that Nigeria’s political commitment to the COVID-19 response is commendable and the country is among those making the difference in the continent.

Dr Kazadi assured the Honorable Minister that he will work with other UN agencies and partners to support government in surmounting coordination challenges, especially in the humanitarian sector.

The WHO Representative is an accredited representative of the WHO Director-General and the Regional Director and is responsible for all negotiations with the host country.

The WR also oversees relationships with the government, provides security for WHO personnel and facilitates functional common services arrangements with other UN agencies

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