Chike Eduputa wants public and private healthhcare providers to work together to give all Nigerians access to decent healthcare. Armed with an MSc in International Health Management from Imperial College Business School, he plans to do his bit to improve healthcare in his home country.
Chike, 22, lived in Nigeria until his family migrated to Cambridge, England when he was 12, where his classmates were disappointed with his lack of breakdancing and rap skills.
When he graduated with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences from Kings College London, he went straight on to Imperial. He knew that he did not want to be stuck in a lab, but wanted to put his science expertise to practical use.
“My colleagues on this programme are very international. There are about 50 of us and out of that I think about eight Africans. It’s time for change so everyone is starting to sit up. People on the course are there to go back and change their home countries”, he says.
Chike differentiates between the challenges facing healthcare systems in developed countries, where the main issues are cost and quality, and the challenges for developing countries, mainly that there is no system in place.
The public health system that was in place during British colonial rule quickly fell apart after the country gained its independence in 1960, says Chike. Now there are only private providers, which are very expensive and dangerously unregulated. The long-term solution, says Chike, is a system that integrates private and public provision, to ensure that healthcare reaches the greatest number of people.
Chike says that to solve the healthcare crisis in Nigeria, individuals, organizations, governments, NGOs and international organizations will have to rally behind a common goal.
“We need to pull together all the resources available including reaching out to allied healthcare professionals such as nurses, and present their willingness for change as a direct challenge to a government that seems very unwilling to help people”, he says.
His next step is to gain some work experience in the UK before heading to Nigeria. “If I were to head back right away, no one would listen to me”, Chike says. “I need to get to a position where I can start this pilot system and generate noticeable impacts shortly afterwards”.
Chike likens Imperial's International Health Management MSc to a "mini MBA": the course content includes modules in marketing, econometrics, accounting and strategy.
With these foundations, he thinks that the sky is the limit for his career in global healthcare. We look forward to hearing more from Chike in the coming years!