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Outgoing NPHCDA spokesperson advocates sustained innovations to reduce infant mortality

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Mr. Saadu Salahu, outgoing Head of Public Relations, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has urged the agency to sustain innovations to boost routine immunization program toward reducing infant and child mortality in Nigeria.

He made the call during a get-together organized by the agency for him on his retirement after service on Friday in Abuja. Salahu, who worked with about six different executive directors, described

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Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of the agency, as ” the most innovative chief executive officer the agency ever had.”

He said Shuaib achieved significant success on routine immunization through the National Emergency Routine Immunisation Coordination Centre (NECC) which changed the narrative in regular immunization program in Nigeria.

He said,” Community Health Influencers and Promoters Programme and Leadership Development Academy are initiatives of Shuaib created an impact in the health sector, especially the core mandate of the agency.

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“Because of NECC alone, partners all over the world came to Nigeria and donated over three billion U.S. Dollars to the health system through GAVI,” he said.

He, therefore, appealed to staff of the agency for continued support to the management of the agency. He also called the executive director to focus more on the leadership development academy.

Salahu said that leadership development academy was the initiative that could sustain critical positions and the mandate of the agency over the states and local governments.

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He said publicity and public relations at the agency was nill when he joined the agency 19 years ago because the agency was as a medical agency, adding that medical doctors were more preoccupied with medical issues.

He said that apart from the quarterly magazine, there was nothing about the agency, “but today, I thank God that the story was different and those we left in the agency could take it to the next level.”

Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director, described the outgoing head of public relations as “the pillar strength to the organization.” He added that the absence of such a great pillar would affect the structure,

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stressing that Salahu would leave a gap that would be difficult to fill. He said: “he (spokesman) was not only the head of the public relations unit but a sounding board for a lot of innovative ideas the agency rolled out in the last few years.”

The executive director said the outgoing head of public relations would always be a member of the NPHCDA family, speaking “it is sad he is leaving now, but there is a window to put him into the system again.”

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Salahu would be 60 years old on Sept. 21 but voluntarily proceeding on three months pre-retirement leave. Mr. Muhammed Ohitoto, a veteran journalist, is taking over.