Thursday, 14 May 2015

Pope Francis announces Papal Knighthood for Prof Ilika, Anambra former commissioner for Health

His Holiness Pope Francis has announced the former Commissioner for Health in Anambra state, Prof Amobi Ilika as a Knight of St Gregory the Great, the highest Papal award/honour in the Catholic Church worldwide for a laity.

Disclosing this to journalists, through the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Right Rev. Hilary Odili Okeke said that Ilika, who was a Commissioner in Ex Governor Peter Obi’s administration in Anambra state, would receive his investiture on Saturday 16th May, 2015 at Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral, Nnewi, Anambra state.

According to Bishop Okeke, Pope is bestowing Prof Ilika with the highest award of Knight of St Gregory the Great for his service to humanity and contributions to the Church and society.

It is on record, Professor Ilika is very active with his Pro life campaigns against legalizing abortion and he has been a voice for the unborn children and victims of violence.

As a medical doctor, Prof Ilika has ran a Pro-poor and humanitarian services aimed at alleviating human suffering as well as services to the handicapped and physically challenged, even as he was Chairman of Board of Trustees of RECDOCT home Ozubulu.

While in office as Commissioner for Health, he initiated and restored grant in aid to private and missionary health institutions in Anambra state which was stopped by the Military after the war, foresaw the rehabilitation of Mission hospitals, accreditation of school of nursing and midwifery such as Borrowmew hospital Onitsha, Our Lady of Lourdes Ihiala, St Joseph’s Adazi and Waterside Onitsha, witnessed the extension of health facilities to rural and difficult to reach areas like Mmiata Nnam , Osamala etc.

Also, it was during his tenure, Governor Peter Obi’s administration established the University Teaching Hospital Awka at Amaku General Hospital for proper training of doctors , and other health staff as well as provision of  high quality and specialist services.

He is among the founding father of Anambra College of Medicine , the medical school of Anambra state University , now known as Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University .

It was in his tenure, Anambra state won an award from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with a plague and N120 Million cash which Obi’s government matched with N180 Million to build special child and mother maternities in select rural areas in the state.

Ilika’s campaign against abortion necessitated building of cenotaph of the unborn child at St Mathew’s Catholic Church, Amawbia and St Michael’s Catholic Church Amakwa Ozubulu and even mobilized the Knighthood as the Supreme Physician of the Knight of St Mulumba to build over 20 cenotaph’s of the unborn child across Nigeria.

He is a Professor of Public Health at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) and an international Consultant to United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and have travelled all over including Eritrea and Sudan, awarded 2006 Michael and Bell International Award for life initiatives, he shared the award with an Italian Nun. 

The new Knight was the first Professor of Public Health in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, a former HOD Community Medicine, NAUTH , Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) ; Member of Senate of National Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria ; Member Faculty Board of Public Health, National Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria, Member American Society of Tropical Medicine Hygiene  and member Nigeria Vision 2020  on Health thematic area to mention but a few.



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