Chikwe’s Challenge

Chikwe Ihekweazu had his work cut out for him when he took the helm at the fledgling Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in 2016.

In one of the world’s poorest health systems, he’s juggling real time outbreaks, pushing pandemic preparedness measures, growing his staff, and setting up new labs on a shoestring budget, writes ace journalist Amy Maxmen. His approach could provide a template for other African countries. But fighting for funding is an immense challenge when success comes with invisible accolades—like outbreaks averted.  

 “We are building the ship while we are sailing,” Ihekweazu says, but he remains undeterred. “I can give up … Or I can buckle down and push.”



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