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President Yar' Adua accepts appointment of new UNICEF Representative to Nigeria

New UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Suomi Sakai
© UNICEF Nigeria/2008

Abuja, September 4, 2008 – President Umaru Yar’ Adua has accepted the appointment of Dr. Suomi Sakai as the new country representative of UNICEF in Nigeria by the UNICEF Executive Director Mrs Ann Veneman. 

Dr Sakai, a national of Japan attended the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, Japan from 1976 to 1982 from where she received a degree in Medicine. In 1983 she received a Master of Public Health degree from the National Institute of Public Health, Tokyo. Dr. Sakai also holds a Doctorate degree in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, U.S.A.  Dr. Sakai is married and has two children.

Dr. Sakai assumes duty in Nigeria as UNICEF proposes a N54 billion naira new country programme due to start in January next year as part of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework. She will oversee the management and implementation of this new Federal Government/UNICEF Country programme of Cooperation 2009-2012. 

“Nigeria presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the realization of children’s rights. I hope to work to strengthen the opportunities so that every Nigerian child enjoys his or rights as enshrined in the Child Rights Act”, said Dr. Suomi Sakai, the new UNICEF Nigeria Representative.

Prior to her assignment in Nigeria, Dr. Sakai served as the UNICEF Representative to Cambodia from January 2007 until August 2008.  She was responsible for guiding the development, formulation and management of the UNICEF country programme of cooperation as well as representing the Executive Director in all aspects of UNICEF’s cooperation with the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Prior to her assignment in Cambodia, Dr. Sakai served as UNICEF Representative in Nepal from August 2002 until December 2006.

From 2000 to 2002, Dr. Sakai was Chief, Immunization Activities in Headquarters in New York. She guided the development of immunization strategy as one of the priority programmes in UNICEF’s Medium Term Plan for 2002 to 2004. Dr. Sakai also served as UNICEF’s Representative on the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

From 1996 to 2000, Dr. Sakai was Senior Health Adviser, in New York Headquarters, mainly responsible for the development of UNICEF’s policies on immunization.

From 1995 to 1996, Dr. Sakai was Chief of Health in the UNICEF Office in Lilongwe, Malawi and from 1989 to 1995; she was Programme Officer, Health in the UNICEF Office in Beijing, China.

From 1986 to 1988, Dr. Sakai was Field Research Associate based in Indonesia at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

She has since assumed duties in Nigeria.

For more information, please contact:
Geoffrey Njoku, Communication Specialist, 08035250288,



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