Dr. Zainab Muhammad-Idris: A rare Gem, positively impacting the life of grassroots

Dr. Zainab Muhammad-Idris: A rare Gem, positively impacting the life of grassroots

By: Femi Mustapha

Major achievements are what most Nigerians strive for in their lives, they celebrate their successes with peers, talk about them with friends, and instill their value in children.

Whether it is being awarded a prize for professional achievements or stepping back from an active career and spending more time with the family, success is both a very personal concept and, at the same time, often very public.

There is no easy recipe to follow in the definition of success of Dr. Zainab Kwaru Muhammad-Idris, a Consultant and Public Health Physician, with well over 15 years, of considerable experience leading and managing Programs and Projects across diverse thematic areas of health, education, agriculture, and water and sanitation.

She currently manages the Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) Project, a World Bank-funded flagship project on Nutrition in Kaduna Stat


But one thing is visible about this rare gem who has made her mark in areas that cut across Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health plus Nutrition, and other public health and related programs in Nigeria that directly touch the Lives of the people in the grassroots.

Under her watch, the Kaduna State Project Implementation Unit of the World Bank-supported Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria project secured $2.7m (about N1.1bn) for the treatment of malnourished children a giant stride.

The project also ensures that no fewer than 2.5 million people are provided with the Basic Package of Nutrition Services, (BPNS) and Adolescent Health Services (AHS) at community levels in Kaduna State.

According to the Kaduna State Deputy, Dr. Hadiza  Balarabe  Sabuwa, at a forum recently expressed the State Government’s gratitude to Dr. Muhammad-Idris, and the ANRiN project for bringing hope to malnourished children in the state.

The Deputy Governor who is also a medical doctor stressed that the Uba Sani administration will work to strengthen the existing partnership, especially in human capital development, an area in which the current administration places a very high premium personality like Dr. Zainab will be a key partner because she has contributed as a trainer, strategic planner, researcher, gender and professional management consultant and facilitator for various groups and institutions in the state

This is not surprising because Dr. Muhammad-Idris, is an embodiment of patience, diligence, being able to adapt to changing conditions, having good communication skills, being open to innovations, and coping with crises are the almost-innate skills of women.

These features are predictive of her success in the field of medicine for decades, which is not easy considering her background from the North where women in the past have been kept away from the field of medicine by claiming that they do not possess the aforementioned features.

This silent archiver has worked as the North West Zonal Technical Officer, (ZTO) and Coordinator for the UNDP-supported OSSAP MDGs Conditional Grants Scheme to Local Governments (LG) project where she led over 25 Technical Assistants working at the Local Government level  MDG targets.

Dr. Zanaib also served, at various times and in different capacities, as the State Team Leader on the United Kingdom/DFID-funded flagship programs that included Partnerships for Transforming Health Systems (PATHS2) and Strengthening Nigeria’s Response (SNR) to HIV/AIDS.

In these positions, she played catalytic roles in leading a team of program officers and experts by providing technical oversight and backstop in coordinating the institution and scale-up of interventions focused on health, family planning, nutrition, and HIV services delivery, capacity development, research, data management, and commodities supply chain management.

She supported the various program strategy implementation in Kaduna and other program states. Some of these activities led to the establishment and strengthening of some health and related agencies (e.g. Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), HIV/AIDS Control Agency (KADSACA), Drugs Management Agency (DMA) as well as the development of strategic and annual operational health and nutrition plans at the National and state levels.

She has a sound knowledge of socio-economic, health, nutrition, education, and other related development issues, in addition to her knowledge of clinical management of various tropical and non-tropical diseases, program design & implementation, and policy formulation with significant skills in analytic participatory training approach methodologies, operations research, and comparative report writing.

Dr. Muhammad-Idris demonstrated her leadership qualities as the Kaduna State president of the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, (MWAN) where opportunities for capacity building and professional upgrading were provided by her and her team.

She served the medical women and the people of Kaduna State in line with the motto of the MWAN, “Healing with the Love of a Mother ” to ensure better health outcomes for the people of Kaduna state.

“We will build on the achievements and legacies of the past leaders of this great association and build strong leadership and commitment of members to move the association forward”

According to the Chairman of,  the Association of Resident Doctors, Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, (ARD-BDTH) Dr. Godwin Y Abrak; Dr. Muhammad-Idris has paid her dues in the medical profession and should be recommended for national assignment in the field.

It is in line with this, that a group under the auspice of “Friends of Dr Zainab Muhammad-Idris” drums support for her to contest for the National President of the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, believing her to bring the transformation recorded in Kaduna to national level.

Giving credence to this, Dr. Patricia Philip from Garden City Hospital, said as a young Doctor, she has learned a lot from Dr. Muhammad-Idris, whom she described as a rare gem.

In the same vein, Dr. Aduke Omolewa of Green Vile  Hospital, Abuja, said she met Dr. Muhammad-Idris at a function in Abuja, and she immediately fell in love with her standard, especially after noting the part of the country she comes from.

Mrs. Rebecca Duku, whose malnourished child benefited from the the ANRiN project under Dr. Muhammad-Idris’ watch, said she and thousands of other parents will forever remain grateful to Dr. Muhammad-Idris for turning their stories around from malnourished to well-fed children.

Just like the popular saying, there’s no hiding place for a goldfish. That is why the national call beckons on Dr. Muhammad-Idris. In anticipation of the extension of her transformative ideas in Kaduna to all over the nation.

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