Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole
By Victoria Ojeme
The monarch of Japan, His Majesty Emperor Naruhito has conferred one of the country’s highest national awards on the immediate past Nigerian Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole.
This was contained in a statement by the Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr Kikuta Yutaka, to the effect that this year’s foreign recipient of the 2020 Spring Imperial Decorations is Professor Adewole.
Ambassador Yutaka said Professor Adewole will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, one of the highest order awarded in the name of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, in recognition of his contributions towards strengthening bilateral relations between Japan and Nigeria, inter Alia, in health sector.
Professor Adewole becomes the second Nigerian to receive such Order from Japan, following Senator Udoma Udo Udoma who received it at the 2019 Autumn Imperial Decorations.
Adewole served as the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ibadan from 2010 to 2014. He also served as Nigeria’s Minister of Health from 2015 to 2019. During his tenure as the Minister of Health, he made outstanding contributions towards fostering bilateral relationship between Japan and Nigeria, inter alia, in health sector.
According to ambassador Yutaka, Adewole’s contributions have yielded much positive impact on Nigeria’s healthcare system, which is of critical importance to the lives of Nigerian people.
Yutaka said some of the notable achievements of Adewole include reinforcing the Japan-Nigeria partnership in the area of health and the procurement of polio vaccines for the National Polio Immunisation Campaign for children under 5 years in Nigeria with support from the Japanese government.
“This action has kept Nigeria free of the wild polio virus since 2016. Again, during his ministerial position, Prof. Adewole made unrelenting effort to receive the approval of the Government of Japan in 2017 and 2018 to donate 48 fully equipped medical ambulances to the Ministry of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These ambulances were subsequently distributed to every state of the Federation as well as the FCT. Now with the outbreak of COVID- 19 pandemic in Nigeria, the services of these ambulances has become invaluable. For example, in Lagos State the ambulance has been used to resuscitate and transport COVID-19 patients to treatment centres,” he said.
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He added that as the Minister of Health, Prof. Adewole led his ministry to play a fundamental role in establishing a partnership between the Embassy of Japan in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). This partnership has since resulted to extension of grants from the Government of Japan to the NCDC for establishment of NCDC’s disease diagnostic centres in Lagos and Abuja as well as donations and distribution of medical equipment to numerous NCDC’s reference laboratories in Nigeria.
“As the Minister of health, Prof. Adewole’ s efforts at improving Japan- Nigeria relationship in the area of health is not just restricted to the national level, but also at the local level. This is evidenced at his ministry’s presence in some GGP’s signing ceremonies that had to do with delivery of quality health care to rural communities in Nigeria,” Yutaka said.
On account of the aforementioned achievements and other numerous health related development cooperation projects that were implemented during his tenure as the Minister of Health in addition to his role in contributing to advancement and expansion of Japan’s presence in Nigeria’ prof. Adewole follows Senator Udoma Udo Udoma as the only Nigerian to receive such honour from Japan.
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