By Salim Yunusa

Dr Ibrahim Abubakar Kana has emerged as the youngest member of the elite cadre in Nigeria’s Civil Service following the appointment of five new Permanent Secretaries by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The President, on Friday, June 18, 2021, appointed Dr Kana to serve as Permanent Secretary in the civil service alongside four others.

The Nasarawa State born Kana is currently a participant of the Senior Executive Course 43 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru-Jos.

As Permanent Secretary, Kana is expected to bring to bear the brilliance that he has displayed since joining the civil service in 2007 as a young Medical Doctor and Consultant Ophthalmologist.

Known to be hard-working and meticulous, his appointment, who signals a new chapter for the emergence of a new generation of permanent secretaries, is expected to inject fresh breath into Federal Civil Service in the country in the light of prevailing socioeconomic dynamics.

President Buhari has so far appointed three very young but fairly experienced permanent secretaries.

SAHELIAN TIMES learnt that Dr Ibrahim Kana is stepping into the elite class of the civil service an impressive wealth of experience, bearing in mind that he led the Government of Nigeria/World Bank flagship ‘Saving One Million Lives Programme for Result (SOML-PforR) in the last six years, after occupying several high-level positions at national and international levels.

At different times, Kana had worked in close collaboration with the President’s Office, state governors and all large-scale health sector Development Partners active in Nigeria to align their efforts around a shared transformational goal.

Moreover, Dr Kana has occupied senior health positions in the country in the last ten years, interacting with and influencing key stakeholders to deliver reforms.

He is an astute technocrat that has a penchant for reforms and taking on new and difficult challenges with a focus on results and desired outcomes. Some of the positions he held in the federal civil service include Head of the Federal Government Staff Eye Clinic, Abuja, Technical Advisor to the Minister of State for Health, Head of Health Desk, Office of Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs under the leadership of Amina Muhammed, the current Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

He also served four different permanent secretaries in the Federal Ministry of health as Senior Special Assistant, and this has greatly sharpened his administrative and managerial competence.

Dr Kana’s tenure in the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) was remarkable when he represented the ministry as Commissioner in Charge of Health.

He initiated major reform programmes which led to the complete turnaround of healthcare provision for Nigerian Pilgrims from 2011-2019 under the leadership of Barr. Abdullahi Mukthar.

He has also served on various presidential and ministerial committees.

Prior to joining the Federal Civil Service, Dr Kana started his working career at the Jos University Teaching Hospital as a house officer before embarking on the mandatory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) at the Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital, Kaduna.

In the year 2000, he took up a job in the Department of Ophthalmology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

During the period, he volunteered his weekends to serve as zonal coordinator with the Kaduna State Eye Care Programme in collaboration with the UK Based NGO, Sight Savers. He carried out several eye surgeries on the rural dwellers in the southern Kaduna State.

His interest in service to the people propelled him to Sokoto State where he successfully helped in setting up the Sokoto State Eye Care Programme.

While in Sokoto, Dr Kana offered his time as visiting lecturer to the Usmanu Dan Fodio University, where he taught Ophthalmology.

Dr Kana and the team he set up carried out over O
one thousand eye surgeries and established several surgical outreach centres including Illela, Tangaza, Gwadabawa, Gada, Issa, Sabon Birni and others.

Dr Ibrahim Kana was Secretary of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Kaduna State branch, then National Assistant Secretary-General before being elected as National Treasurer from 2008-2010. During his tenure, the association moved its secretariat from Lagos to Abuja and procured the buildings which serve as its secretariat today.

Kana began his educational career at the Ahmadu Maikwato Primary School Keffi, from where he hails, before gaining admission to Federal Government College, Odogbolu, Ogun State. He completed his secondary education at the famous Government College, Keffi, after which he obtained the Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) degree from the University of Jos – Jos, Plateau State. He further obtained Fellowship in Ophthalmology after completing the Residency Training of the National Post-Graduate Medical College of Nigeria.

His hunger for knowledge ushered him into the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology – Arusha, Tanzania where he obtained a Certificate in Community Ophthalmology. His interest in public administration started in Sokoto where he enrolled in the Department of Political Science, Usumanu Dan Fodio University – for the Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (PGDPA). He attended the World Bank Institute – Budapest, Hungary Islamic Development Bank funded training on Leadership/Innovation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and later obtained a certificate in KAIZEN from the Malaysia Institute of Technology (MIT) – Kuala Lumpur as well as a certificate in Leadership from the John Hopkins University, Maryland, USA.

Kana chose a new path by becoming a Global Health Financing expert, attending the SINA HEALTH/World Bank Health Financing (Performance-Based Financing) in Mombasa, Kenya, World Bank Flagship Course in Health Financing in Washington D.C and the WHO advanced course in Health Financing in Barcelona, Spain.

He is currently undergoing a Masters Degree in Health Financing and Pharmacoeconomics in the Pompeo Fubra University, Barcelona, Spain.

Kana is widely travelled, having traceled to over 30 countries across all the continents of the world.

Kana is married to Zainab with who he has children.

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