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Could All Nigerians Have Decent Healthcare? This Imperial Student Thinks So

Chike Eduputa is on the Imperial College Business School MSc International Health Management

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!


Thursday 5th April 2012, 01.39 (UTC)


" to solve the healthcare crisis in Nigeria, individuals, organizations, governments, NGOs and international organizations will have to rally behind a common goal." a) i would find it highly strange that all there are not agencies already in place trying to bring this about. b) the actual practice of this statement results in so many other problems that will constrains this "all solving" solution. I upfront admit that I am by no means an expert for Nigeria, but I have spend nearly all my summers since the age of 15 working in the administration of a range of NGO's across four continents, (from rich states, to extremely poor states) - and to be honest, I am highly frustrated at seeing the exact same problem repeated again and again. A greatly underestimated problem across the globe is also the wasteful duplication and overlapping of health services provided, particularly within "popular", easy to market activities. Just as an example, why was there an NGO crisis during the management of the Haiti earthquake ? => because they all wanted to acquire a slice of the donated money pot and thus needed to show that they were onsite ready to attend to e.g. orphans in distress ... consequently, they collectively did more damage than good. The exact same occurs outside moments of crisis, most on sight charities provide the same services but monopolize and defend a confined region within which they run their activities. So quite on the contrary I would say that what is needed is much more mozaicity in the delivery of medical service. And most in particular, what still needs to be attended to is: illuminating where & to whom almost no health security is provided. this would mean starting to be serious at securing the basic health for those in solitary confinement, for GLBT, for drug addicts, for prostitutes and all other marginal societal groups. to blame the government as the reason why these groups are not adequately attended neglect the power and judgements of the wider society. particularly with respect to perceptions on homosexuality. So I guess it is great to have high optimism but our whole generation need to seriously take more time in reading up why systems have failed in the last 40 years before trying to climb the ladder of power, and never assume that what applies to one place would work in another - even fundamentally from our course, we see again and again that what policies in one European country can miserably fail in its neighbour, particularly regarding how to "integrating private and public provision". We all still have a huge pile of learning to do, particularly if we want to change big systems like this. as Winston Churchill once said : Courage is not just what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is more so what it takes to sit down and listen.

Thursday 5th April 2012, 07.45 (UTC)

John Archer

First of all article is VERY poorly written...does proof reading mean nothing? 'dfell''', 'colnial' 'if were up to' 'I need to to'. My 10 year old daughter could have noticed such blatant mistakes. Next, although the points Chike makes are valid, there are incredibly simplified. There is no depth to his arguments and everything seems a little 'wishy-washy'. Yes there is a requirement for clear, strategic vision, but what needs to be addressed to put such a goal in place, what are the barriers and how can this be achieved? This seems more like a biography than a reasonable argument. Could Nigerians have decent healthcare? I wouldn't know, this article doesn't tell me! If this is the standard of students coming from this 'International Health Management' course AT IMPERIAL, and these are OUR future healthcare managers, I'm a very worried man indeed.

Thursday 5th April 2012, 07.45 (UTC)


would be interested to know more about your thoughts on private and public sector partnerships Chike! Do you think that private hospitals should be required to offer treatment for free to very poor people? Be interesting to hear what models you have discussed on the MSc!

Thursday 5th April 2012, 16.47 (UTC)


I love the discussion that this article has prompted but dislike the tone of disrespect in John Archer's comment. The anonymity that the speaking via the internet provides is no excuse for being rude under the guise of critiquing. Nowhere in this article did it say that this student was going to give a break down of how he plans to fix the healthcare system in Nigeria. It merely outlined his ambitions. If you wanted to know more details, you could have just asked. I found it strange that after your critique you did not suggest any solutions. If the comment box does not feel like the sort of place you want to go about making in-depth solutions, why not submit a member story or point readers in the direction to get more educated on this topic. To abc I like your point of highlighting the overlapping of health service provision. From what I've gathered, it seems like the Nigerians need to map clearly what services exist and what is lacking and start to draw up tentative plans to resolve their issues. To return the limelight to the student in this article, I think its great that he is this passionate about taking on such a huge task. I would definitely love to hear more of what he thinks in light of the issues that have been raised by the comments.

Friday 6th April 2012, 04.42 (UTC)


i have to say i did have some similar concerns as John Archer though tried to be more politically correct about it. It is very easy to bring out vague optimistic statements , but in that case one should have ideas on how they would be feasible even on a basic level. Otherwise one might question what other reasons there are to have ones name published ? Rory Black, the main issue that returned again and again during our IHM course was one of current context - neighbouring countries in europe are nearly all struggling with how to integrating dual public - private health care incentives and delivery system . no one has the perfect model and all who have tried, have had to make heavy compromises in order for it to happen. Also the way one state has introduced incentives to their health system can result in huge problems and social resentment within another .. this is precisely what is happening in the UK right now who never had a strong culture of private practice ! Id actually argue that switzerland denmark france germany and holland are thus way ahead of us in their experience, though maybe the UK will better take advantage of the faults that others have faced along their journey.

Friday 6th April 2012, 04.48 (UTC)

Claire Darley

"to solve the healthcare crisis in Nigeria, individuals, organizations, governments, NGOs and international organizations will have to rally behind a common goal." Thanks for the tip...I mean, seriously?! With all due respect to Mr. Eduputa, what is this "article" trying to achieve apart from bigging him up?

Friday 6th April 2012, 16.43 (UTC)


Thank you everyone for your comments! I am very happy this discussion has been sparked up and has got people thinking more actively about healthcare in Nigeria. I believe the aim of this article was to highlight my reasons for choosing IHM and my career ambitions like @rory said. Healthcare is a very passionate topic to everyone and like @abc rightly eluded to, there is no ‘one-fits-all’ solution in healthcare. Therefore, there needs to be a synchronous drive from all industries to solve health challenges. The problem is multi-faceted; so we need to set measurable goals both in the short-term and long-term to ensure a sustainable health system. There is an urgent need to develop an in-depth understanding of Nigeria’s healthcare system right down to the local and individual level. Some measures that need to be in place include: - Collecting and analysing health data regularly and accurately - Establishing a benchmark for health provision – set measurable goals. - Understanding our current resources and our capabilities - Focus on a clear definition of the roles and values added by the public, private, NGOs, and other stakeholders in the health system. In a bid to solve our numerous issues, we all have a role to play now and in the future. My current role is to develop a detailed understanding of health systems all over the world. I encourage people to take active roles in setting up health discussion forums, think-tank groups, health strategy companies, health informatics companies, the list is endless but more importantly, what are you doing to have an impact on healthcare. Although some initiatives may have failed in the past, I strongly believe there is a brighter future; we need people like you and me to conceptualize this and turn it into a reality. Let us encourage and empower our people to start thinking more critically and spark up debates about healthcare and other issues in general. I’m glad this article via businessbecause.com is making steps to achieving this. @abc, have a look at this interview by Dambisa Moyo on why aid to Africa has been a disaster. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyf2Cf5GkTY&feature=share) @Dean, I would like to refer you to Aravind Hospital in India where 75% of surgeries are run free of cost, but it runs profitably. (http://www.financialexpress.com/news/we-set-prices-not-on-our-costs-but-on-%20%20%20%20%20%20who-can-afford-to-pay-how-much/233536/) (http://www.aravind.org/Default.aspx) @Claire and @abc, One purpose of the media and social networks is to connect people and get them thinking, highlighting challenges and providing solutions. Publishing this article has shed light on my passion for healthcare and reasons for choosing the Imperial College IHM course. Best, Chike

Friday 6th April 2012, 17.04 (UTC)


This is impressive. I like it when I see progressive minds looking into how to salvage the country from her predicaments. Good dream. Keep it alive

Sunday 8th April 2012, 21.13 (UTC)


Hi Chike, Thanks for your post for finally turning this page into something. If the article had been so from the start it would have been much more enjoyable read. So to follow this on because this topic is one of my secret passions .. here is my response to your link (which i m taking she means evil aids -> economic crisis -> low health care). Yes I do know of her, and have even been in touch with her supervisor Paul Collier for one of my youth led initiatives. Though much of her arguments (similar to his) are highly well regarded (included by me), you need to do wider research into the field in order to truly back her statements. If you have a genuine interest for this, this summer go through the reading lists of any human geography or development course of universities -> Oxford & UCL top the nation for this field. I ve had compulsory modules in human development, health ecology, and political science for my undergrad and the image really is not as clear cut as she makes it out to be... and certainly not only an issue of "white man's burden" another book so goes. More generally : for 1), there was not any Aids/HIV back in the 1970's which has since catastrophised the health status of the whole continent. for 2), she talks about the 1970's when many colonies in Africa where in transition between two statuses, before for most, falling into hostile dictatorial hands. Even Ethiopia which was never colonized has been savagely developmentally ripped to pieces by successive dictatorships in the second part of the 20th C. for 3) specifically with regards to donations & famines - in the 20th C most were human economic mistakes far more than they are environmental disasters. Aids then failed to resolve famines, mostly because they should never have happened in the first place (in most cases there was never an issue of quantity of grain / lifestock but one of highly unequal distribution). Now for Nigeria specifically, for 4), another huge barrier that almost all of Africa faced, is one of natural resources. Type in "Resources Curse" into google and it is a well established phenomenon ... It is the main reason why Africa failed to develop through the C20th compared to tiger economies in Asia . Asian governments who invested in high tech bloomed because to run them, they had to educate their population first.. in parallel, and through this, they could thus regulate the population & collect taxes... Once you have taxes, the government becomes accountable to the people. In africa, governments invested in primary resources for most of the century, and thus, could best run this industry simply by placing armies at oil pits, diamond quarries etc. I m pretty sure that one of the biggest sources of income for the last century in Nigeria was oil. . .- thus had no real incentive to invest in university + technical education and thus economic growth could not be anything other that below its true potential. finally for 5) for disease ecology, you must account for the impact that the Rinderpest / Trypanosomiasis epidemic had. From a population of 40-50 million in the 1850's , your country demographic crashed to

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