New Director of Public Health is welcomed into new role

Kelechi Nnoaham and Councillor Sue McDonald

Kelechi Nnoaham has taken up his role of Director of Public Health at Plymouth City Council this week and is eager to get to grips with the challenges that lay ahead.

Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Adult Social Care, extended a warm welcome to Kelechi who has taken over from Stephen Horsley, who has been the interim Director of Public Health since the departure of Deb Lapthorne to Public Health England last year.

She said: “I am so pleased to welcome someone of Kelechi’s experience and calibre to the Council and together we will look at the priorities for health and wellbeing for the city.

“One of the areas will be to ensure we receive a fairer funding settlement from the Government, as we are currently underfunded by around £12 per head to deal with serious public health issues.

“It’s not going to be an easy job but with determination and a fairer settlement we can forge ahead and thousands of Plymouth residents will benefit. I have the confidence that Kelechi will make a real difference to our city.”

Kelechi has joined the Council from Bristol City Council where he held the position of Acting Director of Public Health.

He has a background in clinical medicine and academic qualifications in public health from the University of Oxford.

With more than 10 years’ experience in Public Health, he has authored academic papers based on synthesis of primary research and use of predictive modelling in public health.

As President and co-founder of the Public Health Foundation of Nigeria, Kelechi’s voluntary International Health work has included designing and delivering capacity building projects for public health and advocating evidence-based public policy for health in Africa.

Kelechi said: “The city’s health and wellbeing challenges are significant but its promise is compelling. I am really excited to be here and everyone has been so welcoming. I can’t wait to meet more of the team and city partners and get to grips with what needs to be done.”