Day 23: Obinna

2017 has been a most fantastic year!

The year started off with planning to attend the UN ECOSOC meeting in Newyork in January. Well that was not to be because I had a job interview at about the same time in Lagos; lol. Not to bother though- I’d return to Newyork in a few months. Had a re-union with my YTP Fellows at the Lagos Business School and was super inspired by the great works being done!

So the year’s work proper commenced with resuming clinical practice at the one of the busiest maternity centres in Lagos- The Island Maternity Hospital.
I think I’ve had one of my best clinical experiences here- few things compare to the joy of helping deliver a baby!

2017 was my year of TRAVEL! Travelled to 10 countries at the last count; lol.
So my journey started in May. Finally got to see Dubai. Beautiful, modern and importantly, built with oil money. When I went to where was called “Old Dubai” I wondered if we just couldn’t call it “New Lagos”. I couldn’t help but wonder if they had two heads. Well, Nigeria’s case is a story for another day.

I returned to the US mid-year for the amazing GAP Summit! It’s one of the most fantastic experiences I’ve had in Medicine. It’s a gathering of 100 of the brightest minds in biotech, medicine and policy. I still cherish every moment- especially as my team won the best presentation for our #ProjectCubix, which is essentially a 3D render of chest rays that automatically identifies lung defects and screen for lung cancer. We are currently expanding the capacity of Cubix to make automatic X-ray interpretations and diagnose other medical conditions by applying machine learning to read Xrays.

I returned to stay in Hopkins- one of my favourite places in the world! Anytime I have doubts or get tired of the challenges of clinical medicine, I visit Hopkins, it keeps my spirit alive!

Returned to the country and continued clinical practice- I spent a few months working in a Paediatric Hospital. Children gives me joy and any clinical career I pursue would definitely involve children. Paediatrics was tough because I watched too many kids die from preventable reasons. But on a happier note, I travelled a little more in Q3 of 2017. Saw more of Africa, Uganda, Rwanda and realized our problems are largely the same on the Continent- problems of greed, selfishness and lack of thorough planning! Rwanda gives some hope because there’s a deliberate attempt to build a new consciousness and a new nation.

I attended the Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting in Kampala and met with Nigeria’s Youth Minister, as well as other top government officials. Kampala taught me a lot about the process of policy negotiations and the need for focused advocacy. Made amazing new friends and enjoyed the food. (WE LOVE FOOD)

Next up was Denmark! Ah Copenhagen, Aarhus, Hilleroed! Lived 2 amazing weeks in Denmark co-creating solutions to some of the biggest issues in the world at the #UNLEASH event. (Applications for next year open soon- apply!)
Denmark is simply beautiful and the ease with which they take life made me reflect on all the traffic and mad rush in Lagos. Copenhagen taught me order, planning and most of all- contentment! The Danish people are happy and easy going- I only wish I could at least pronounce the words I saw; haha.

Then it was finally time for Newyork! Finally I was back in the city of lights. Newyork brings out the serious side of me any day, anytime (You can’t be paying so much for accommodation and still be unserious!)

The Commonwealth Youth Health Network where I serve on the Steering Committee organized a very successful side event at the UN General Assembly, in collaboration with the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA). We looked at the issues of health equity and how young people can contribute effectively to guaranteeing better health outcomes. I’m grateful to everyone who came around, most especially our Commonwealth Dep. Sec General! This was immediately followed by a closed door meeting with the WHO DG. It was such a pleasure finally meeting Dr Tedros and thinking through how youths voices can be better elevated in global health decision making. Looking forward to developing a solid partnership arrangement with the WHO in 2018- plans are in the works fingers crossed.

Even with all these, Roma is the best trip of the year!!
This time around in Rome, I was in for the best surprise of the year! I was given a room in Pope Francis’ house! Yes, Pope Francis! Still feels like a dream till now. Was incredible knowing I lived with the Pope and I bumped into him randomly just coming out of the study room. Blessings! Rome felt even better this time and I visited more places- Trevi, The Pantheon, Michael Angelo’s garden, St Peters as usual and a few other places. I’m already beginning to go past tourist zone but still far from being a local; hahaha.

My speech at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences largely revolved around the urgent need to expand health insurance, especially to the most vulnerable in our societies. A few partnerships are in the works from the Vatican Youth Symposium- hopefully we can do something about access to life-saving antibiotics for Nigerian children. 2018 is going to be busy! Look out…

Finally there were a few places I was invited to speak on topics I’m passionate about, but couldn’t make it. However, thanks to tech; I delivered my talks via Skype.
Special thanks to the medical students at the National Yang Ming Medical School in Taiwan for inviting me and also to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London! I also had a few things that didn’t really go as planned- my health policy blog, developing my ideas from UNLEASH and a few relationships that declined. I’m working to improve them already- 2018 please be kind; lol.

I can’t possibly speak on all the highlights of the year, but I’m thankful for all I’ve experienced. God has been kind and in 2017 I’ve been exceptionally favored. Many are smarter, finer and more qualified, but He has had mercy and blessed me.

Ah yes- I fell in love with the most wonderful woman; now you know why everyday feels like a beautiful dream.

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Season’s Greetings from Perry’s Tots.🎄🎁

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  1. This is the highlight of the month of Perry’s Tots for me.So much to learn Wishing you more success in all your endeavours and God bless you We are proud of change agents like you

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