Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Update: WHO Declares Ebola an International Crisis

GENEVA – On 17 July, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the current  Ebola virus outbreak in the DRC an international emergency.
The outbreak has been classified as a Grade 3 emergency since August 2018. A Grade 3 emergency is a situation in which “a single or multiple country event with substantial public health consequences that requires a substantial WHO Country Office (WCO) response and/or substantial international WHO response. Organizational and/or external support required by the WCO is substantial. An Emergency Support Team, run out of the regional office, coordinates the provision of support to the WCO.”
Currently, the Ebola crisis in the DRC is one of the eight Grade 3 emergencies listed by the WHO. The others include Cyclone Idai, the Mozambique flooding, and the public health in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The characteristics of the Ebola virus have been holding true to form in this latest outbreak. The average fatality rate runs at about half of all people who contract the disease. The actual rates have ranged from as few as 25 percent to as many as 90 percent of those infected. Approximately 2,500 people have contracted the virus over the past 12 months, of which 1,700 fatalities have been confirmed.
Before the WHO update, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had issued a Level Two Travel Notice, requiring special safety measures for anyone visiting the North Kivu and Ituri regions of the DRC.
Because Missions Box News has been following the Ebola crisis over the past year, we feel that it is essential to explain what the WHO’s declaration of an international emergency means. The acronymic name used by WHO is a PHEIC, short for Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
The PHEIC said, in part,
“It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our efforts. We need to work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system.”
An international public health emergency sounds frightening, but that is not necessarily the case. STAT News described a WHO PHEIC as “a crisis in the affected region of DRC and a real risk to neighboring countries. Governments around the world need to be paying more attention to it, but the risk of global spread is low.”
In other words, it is not likely that the Ebola virus outbreak is coming to a city near you.
A PHEIC is an advisory indicating that the WHO has assumed temporary authority to share crisis information with other countries without the express consent of the governing bodies in which the emergency actually is.
By issuing the declaration, the WHO may issue temporary recommendations that include border closures, airline flight restrictions (in or out), and suspension of importation of goods and travel visas. Note, however, that the WHO has no enforcement authority, at least at this time.
The declaration of a PHEIC is solely to gain the attention of governments, NGOs, and other entities that may need to be aware, or that may be able to aid.
Nonetheless, when 1,700 people die from a viral outbreak, we all need to be concerned and stay abreast of the news before we become subjects of it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Dr. Olawale Sulaiman: US-based Nigerian neurosurgeon who flies home monthly to perform free surgery

Nigeria is a country full of enormous talents who operates both within and outside the country. One of such people is Dr Olawale Sulaiman who is a professor of neurosurgery and spine surgery. 

He is also the system chairman of department of neurosurgery at Ochsner health system in New Orleans, Louisiana, in America. Sulaiman also serves as co-medical director of Ochsner Neuroscience Institute and medical director of the most comprehensive spine center in the region. 
Dr Olawale Sulaiman
Dr Olawale Sulaiman is recognised as one of the best spine surgeons in the USA and is skilled in the application of minimally invasive techniques to treat spinal disorders. He also founded RNZ Global with the belief that: 
There are tremendous number of brilliant Nigerians in diaspora who will significantly contrute to raising the standard of healthcare in Nigeria, based in the metro area of New Orleans who operates and renders his medical expertise in US and Nigeria. 
The motivation according to him: " if I have been given all these opportunities in life and the least I can do is to give back to the society." He stated further that: “My philosophy is whether you are Nigerian, Vietnamese, an American, everybody should have access to some degree of good quality healthcare.” 

Dr Sulaiman's medical mission in Nigeria started in 2010 with his coming to the country every few months. Now, he shuttles between USA and Nigeria every month spending seven to ten days performing free surgery and saving lives. To achieve his medical mission in his country of birth, Dr Sulaiman agreed with Ochsner to give up 15% of his salary so he can have a flexible schedule to travel to Nigeria. In the last five years, Sulaiman and his team have performed surgeries for over 500 patients. They have also screened and provided preventative medicine to more than 5,000 people. Ochsner on the other hand has supported his efforts by sending supplies overseas with him. Sulaiman has developed programmes to train Nigerians back home so they can spread healthcare to those with no access. 


Monday, July 29, 2019

Making Progress In Global Health: Myths about the polio eradication program

Too expensive, too slow, too discriminatory, and other myths about the polio eradication program

In 2017, there was a total of 22 polio cases in the world. To put that in perspective, in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio, with approximately 22 people (mostly children) becoming paralyzed every half hour. Today’s 99 percent reduction of cases should be cause for celebration.
At the same time some in the health community criticize the Global Polio Eradication Initiative for costing too much money, being poorly managed, and usurping resources from the overall global health effort.
The Optimist’s Ryan Bell sat down with Jay Wenger, director of the polio program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to fact-check the most persistent myths about the effort to eradicate polio.
Nurse Moussa Mounkaila administers the polio vaccine to a child held by her mother in Dosso region, Niger.
Myth #1: Other diseases deserved to be eradicated first
Smallpox was the first disease successfully eradicated. The virus killed about one-third of the people it infected. Once a good vaccine was developed for smallpox, it took 10 or 12 years to declare it eradicated. The last case was in 1977. This was proof that eradication could work for some diseases. While it would be great to eradicate all infectious disease, eradication is not possible for most. The tetanus bacteria, for example, lives in the soil for many years. The only guaranteed way to get rid of it would be to sterilize the Earth, and that's obviously impossible. And we are trying to eradicate other infections, such as malaria. In the ‘40s and ‘50s, the public health community killed mosquitoes with DDT and cured people with chloroquine. But the mosquitoes became resistant to DDT and the malaria parasite became resistant to chloroquine. The eradication program was later put on pause as funding dried up and the limited number of interventions lost their effectiveness. However, the malaria program learned a lot about eradication and now, with an acceleration of the development of additional tools needed to finish the job, we believe malaria can be eradicated in the future.
After smallpox, polio was a reasonable target for eradication because they had the disease burden information and a vaccine that worked.
Myth #2: In choosing to eradicate polio, the West thought only of itself
Polio has always been present in the developing world.
Ironically, it got worse with the arrival of modern-day sanitation systems. Previously, most people in developing nations were exposed to polio as infants, a small proportion developed paralysis every year, and survivors without paralysis did not get disease because they’d built up natural immunity. But when sanitation systems were put in place, it greatly reduced children’s everyday exposure to viruses and bacteria, resulting in no cases, but preventing people from developing those immunities. However, when polio actually did get into these communities, that’s when we started seeing polio outbreaks, with thousands of children becoming paralyzed when an outbreak finally did occur. At the same time, organizations like the March of Dimes put an international spotlight on polio. Studies done in the 1960s and ‘70s found there were as many cases of paralysis from polio in the developing and the developed world. So, the sentiment of the eradication program was to say: “We're not going to just get rid of this disease from the rich countries. We're going to get rid of it everywhere, because it is everywhere.”
Myth #3: Eradication is a myopic approach to managing global health challenges
There’s a debate in public health, going back 100 years, about taking a vertical or horizontal approach to health. Is it better to tackle individual problems, or do you improve the whole healthcare system?
The big critique of a systems approach is that it’s broad. It can mean everything from making sure the hospitals are built and equipped, doctors are trained, there's gas for the cars, political will to support the programs—all kinds of things, and that makes it hard to measure progress. A lot of money goes into fixing healthcare systems, often without rigor about how it's spent and what progress is made. The foundation’s Integrated Delivery team and partners are working to address this through an approach to primary health care systems measurement and improvement.
The major critique of vertical programs is that they focus on only one disease, ignore other health issues at best and at worst may divert existing health structures away from other health problems. On the other hand, by going after a single disease you can count the number of cases, know where you’ve made progress, and what measures are effective. Working specifically and aggressively on a single problem can yield technologies and strategies that can also be used for achieving broader public health goals. And by getting rid of a disease once and for all, it gives a boost to all health programs, giving people confidence that we can make progress.
There are arguments to be made on both sides, and at the Gates Foundation we believe the answer is to do both.

Community health worker Hawa Amadou, 70 years old undertakes a polio vaccination awareness session with a group of women during a baptism in Dosso, Dosso region, Niger.

Myth #4: As a one-and-done program, polio eradication is a waste of effort
The polio program has created innovations and developed approaches that can then be used for other things. For example, recently we’ve create an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in every country where there’s been an outbreak. This involves gathering all health partners together—ideally in the same room—to look at the relevant data and make strategy decisions. That may not sound brilliant, but when we started tackling polio in Nigeria, the WHO people were in one building, the Ministry of Health down the street, and UNICEF in another city. The EOC brought all the important actors together, under national government leadership. When the Ebola outbreak happened in Western Africa, the first case showed up in Nigeria. The Ministry of Health asked the polio program to set up an EOC and to loan our polio workers to fight the outbreak. They got rid of Ebola in six months, then went back to work on polio.
The effort to get rid of polio has also driven the program to reach children in the farthest corners of a lot of countries. Now, more kids are vaccinated for polio in the world than for any other disease. In doing so, the polio program has created disease surveillance systems that weren’t in place before. I saw that first-hand in India, where I ran the National Polio Surveillance Project from 2002 to 2007. We had 300 medical officers all across India, with eyes on almost every village. When there was an outbreak of something like meningitis, as happened in the state of Uttar Pradesh, I would get a call from the government asking if our medical officers could go see what was going on—the polio surveillance system could be used to report on these kind of problems. And now that polio is gone from India (the last wild polio virus case was in 2011), that system is being used to monitor for cases of measles, diphtheria, pertussis, and more.
Myth #5: The developed world keeps the best vaccines for themselves
There are more factors than just cost that go into the choice of vaccine used for stopping polio in a given country. And “expensive” doesn’t always mean “better.” The “inactivated polio vaccine” (IPV) was the first one developed. The injection contains dead virus and can stop an exposed child from becoming paralyzed. The problem with IPV, though, is it doesn’t stop polio from spreading in countries where sanitation is not good. Vaccinated children can still host polio in their gut if they are infected with the virus, which they defecate out, keeping polio alive in their communities. The other problem is that IPV is expensive to manufacture. The foundation is supporting research to create a cheaper IPV, which I hope we'll have relatively soon. But I think of it as an insurance policy to protect children, not a tool for eradicating polio.
The only option for eradication is the “oral polio vaccine,” or OPV. It’s given by mouth, making it cheaper to make and easier to distribute. OPV has live virus (in a weakened state) and creates immunity in the stomach. After vaccination, if a person is exposed to a polio outbreak, the wild virus can’t reproduce in their gut. That’s the only way to eradicate polio in a community. But there is a problem with OPV. If not every child in a population is vaccinated, the vaccine’s own polio virus can move from kid to kid and mutate a bit each time. We call this “vaccine-derived polio virus,” or VDPV, and in rare cases it can cause paralysis. Those outbreaks tend to occur in places where vaccination efforts aren’t thorough, such as in parts of Africa and the Middle East. Luckily, those outbreaks are easy to stop with the OPV vaccine. It’s our workhorse.
The idea of the eradication program is to get rid of the virus totally so we don't have to worry about polio anymore. That takes a while, so in the meantime, we recommend that kids get a dose of IPV to at least protect them from paralysis if the virus is floating around. It’s like our insurance vaccine. But IPV won’t get us to eradication because it doesn’t work at the gut level.
Myth #6: Polio will never be eradicated due to war and conflict
Every global health program is eventually going to have to operate in a conflict zone. The polio program first encountered civil wars in Latin America, where both sides agreed to have “days of tranquility” when vaccinators could cross the fighting lines to vaccinate children. We successfully and peacefully eliminated polio in Latin America before some of those conflicts were over. In Africa, countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia held cease fires for polio workers. And, recently, during the Syrian civil war, the polio program was able to work with the many different sides to negotiate access for health workers to stop outbreaks in that region. It remains a challenge in Afghanistan and Pakistan where the governments only control part of their geographic areas, but there are many examples of the polio program being successful despite civil wars and insurgencies.
Myth #7: The polio eradication program is way over budget
It’s not uncommon to hear something like, “Why spend a billion dollars on a disease that, last year, caused just 22 cases?”
There are two answers to this question. First, the whole point of eradication is that you see it through to the end—zero cases. The biggest benefits of the program become obvious after the virus is eradicated, so looking at the cost-per-case ratio for the program at the very end is misleading. The fact that we’ve only got 22 cases is a big success, not a reason to complain about spending a lot of money. Without spending the money, we’d be having hundreds of thousands of cases each year. We’ve got to get to 0 by getting to very small numbers first, and when we do get to zero, we reap benefits forever.
A better way to look at what we’re getting from the program right now is by the number of cases it has prevented. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative has prevented 18 million people from being paralyzed by polio, with hundreds of thousands more prevented every year, even before we get to zero!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Poor Health care system in Somalia

Over the last 10 years health care system had been rapidly undergoing challenges and barriers alongside with rising of new diseases which their cure medication has not been discovered yet. Moreover, health care system has failed to provide services and improving quality of health facilities under the inefficient provision of government, and lack of financially support due to poor economy of the country.
The private health sectors are gradually growing in the absence of an effective public sectors uplift which results high costing to the people to afford health care.
This trend was encouraged by declining, external finances, lack of resources or commitment by administrations to support a public health service Even though the country started improving in terms of infrastructure, However health care system remained under developed, poorly resourced and lack of motivation and vision,
One of the main challenges are maternal issues where women face major failure of maternal service, child birth facilities, hospitals and lack of emergency obstetric referral care for birth complication which further results loss of blood post-delivery or easy get infectious both mother and the baby.
The second major challenges are poor facilities of dialysis clinic. Majority people here in Somalia are suffering from chronic diseases like Kidney failure .it refers when kidneys stop working well enough to filter blood before send back it to the heart or pass well the urine to the bladder.
One of the main causes of Kidney failure is diabetes and there is less awareness about the correlation between these two diseases. Moreover, the treatment comes with full package include: medication, excising plus changing diet. When the sugar level of the body is constantly high, it causes malfunction of the kidneys, softness of the bones, and blindness. If there are no regular check ups it will be difficult for the individual to track sugar balance constantly
Adding up all this causes, will result kidney failure, which brings to my point of no proper clinic dialysis . Most of the people don’t benefit from dialysis facilities here in Somalia because of poor quality, and it’s very sad to see people dying from diseases that are manageable to live longer or don’t have say goodbye too soon.
My goal as a citizen to highlight and bring awareness of those kind of major issues like rising kidney failure or poor maternal for women and overall lack of proper health care system that people can rely .

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Second synchronized Horn of Africa cross-border polio meeting organized in Ethiopia

The second synchronized Horn of Africa cross border polio coordination and micro-planning meeting which was organized for district-level health officials of Ethiopia and Somaliland and Puntland held from 16-18, July 2019 in Jigjiga city of Somali region in Ethiopia. The first synchronized cross border micro-planning meeting was held in Hargeisa Somaliland from 12 to 13 June 2019 with great success where the lower level staffs were fully involved and engaged in the process of the cross-border micro plan.
Dr. Anand Saumya from UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) in his remark also underlined the importance of this joint planning meeting and the synchronized campaign for a better outcome. Image Credit: Twitter(@WHO)
This second synchronized cross-border meeting was attended by the Ministry of Health National, Regional, zonal and woreda level officers, CORE Group, CDC, Rotary, WHO and UNICEF. The overall objectives of this meeting were to review the 1st round implementation of synchronized cross-border activities between Somaliland, Puntland, and Ethiopia; to identify the gaps and challenges and discuss and develop the way forward to address the challenges; to review the preparedness activities of the cross border for the upcoming extended campaign of monovalent oral polio vaccine type2 (mOPV2) and to further update the cross border micro plans for both side of the borders to ensure all children would be reached.
The Somali Regional Health Bureau (RHB) Head, Dr. Yusuf Mohammed Ali in his welcoming remark said that "The RHB looks forward to continuing working closely with the multitude of partners in Ethiopia and abroad, to make sure that every child is vaccinated to protect our children from Polio and other Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD)."
Dr. Anand Saumya from UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) in his remark also underlined the importance of this joint planning meeting and the synchronized campaign for a better outcome.
Mr. Christopher Alexander Kamugisha, the Coordinator for the global polio eradication initiative (GPEI) Horn of Africa Office on his behalf congratulated the Ethiopia and Somali Region teams for the successful completion of the first round mOPV2 vaccination and urged to use this planning meeting as an opportunity to share lessons learned and discuss how best to get prepared for the upcoming next rounds.
On the first day of this meeting that intended to review the first round mOPV2 implementation, the Somali Regional heath bureau presented the first round mOPV2 campaign implementation activities, challenges and way forwards in Jarar and Dollo zones which was officially launched on both zones on 24 and 25 June respectively and followed by the Somaliland and Puntland teams' response presentation.
The next two days will focus on reviewing and updating the synchronized micro plans for the cross border areas for the next campaign. Some of the outcomes expected from this meeting includes updating synchronized micro plan at border crossing points, to reach common understanding and agreement on the dates for the cross-border polio outbreak response, strengthening the cross border community based surveillance for AFP and other diseases surveillance and strengthen the mechanism for timely sharing of AFP surveillance data and other disease events.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Trying to break the taboo of mental health in Sheffield’s Somali community

Meaning ‘mind’ in Somali, Maan claims to be the only service in Sheffield whose sole focus is giving mental health support to members from the Somali and other black and ethnic minority communities.
Members of Maan
Sharmarke Ismail, Maan manager, set up the organisation to ‘encourage people to talk’ and tackle mental health problems in the Somali community.
According to Sharmarke, there remains a problem within the Somali community that it is ‘still fighting to help people understand’.
He said: “Many don’t see counselling as helpful. Mental health is still a taboo subject.”
Sharmarke, who is originally from Somaliland, told how the country’s history contributes to the root of mental health issues in this community.
A lot of individuals move to the UK from a harsh environment in Somaliland that has stemmed from the civil war, he says, when there were no jobs and no food.
Adapting to a new life is difficult and there is the perception that individuals ‘have to be strong’ and that ‘illness is weakness’.
This is particularly the case for men.
Sharmarke explained how men become disorientated because Somali men are meant to be ‘proud men’.
He said: Women talk more and men try to solve the problem themselves - that is why we see Somali men overrepresented on the mental health wards and why 85 per cent of service users at Maan are men.
Last year, Maan supported 47 people - 30 per cent were severe cases but there were also some mild cases.
Maan seeks to increase awareness by reducing stigma, fear, discrimination and myths around the subject area.
It does this by providing up to date and accessible information through workshops and activities - either through one to one, or group working.
One such example is the women’s group in Burngreave, who meet every Tuesday at The Furnival community hub to do physical activities or discuss issues.
Attendees are carers from the Somali community, who are often isolated and unsure of where to get support and advice.
Sharmarke Ismail, Maan manager
Sharmarke believes that the group offers many benefits for the women as it is a place where they can ‘share stories’.
They have said how coming together as a group reduces their isolation and promotes physical and emotional well-being, he explains.
There is also a support group specifically for men, who meet every Tuesday.
The organisation provides training for health and social care providers too, such as the NHS.
This is a particularly important objective for Sharmarke as he believes there is a ‘lack of cultural competence’ in mainstream services.
He said that many black minority individuals have come through war or prison, experiences that are not accounted for a lot of the time.
There is a lack of communication about the relevant information and this often leads to over-diagnosis for these individuals, he believes.
Having lived in Sheffield for 10 years, Sharmarke has also seen how the language barrier can prevent some individuals from being able to access mainstream services.
He said: “There have been a lot of barriers to reach this point. It is a slow process but we have to work with the community”.
In the last two years, the Somali community has become more involved with workshops, training and campaigns at Maan.
Sharmarke explained that most service users attend through word of mouth or through referrals from health professionals.
Maan will help individuals access appropriate service providers should their services not be suitable.
Services are open to anyone aged 18 and above but young people have not been left out. There is a new project launching in August, where they will be able to enjoy sports and learn new skills such as cooking.
The organisation’s main challenge has been a lack of funding. However, this hasn’t lessened Sharmarke’s optimism.
We are still existing and still fighting - it is good for us to be here, he said.
Although Magid Magid being elected as Lord Mayor raised the profile of the Somali community last year, Sharmarke believes there is still some marginalisation.
Maan doesn’t hold fundraising events because he thinks they would not be successful. “They require a lot of energy with minimal outcome,” he said.
Sharmarke encourages individuals to volunteer if they want to help people though.
He also reminds individuals to seek help at the earliest opportunity.
Come to us and we will help you. Talking is very good and it’s better to talk now before the situation escalates, he said.
“We have professional staff with over 25 years experience. Prevention is better than cure and we want people to be better educated about mental health.”
For more information about Maan, see:

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Female Community Influencers Saving Lives in Somalia

The rates of maternal death and infant mortality in Somalia are among the highest in the world. To help combat this, Trócaire is working with local partners in Somalia on a new initiative which sees women supporting other women in their community to ensure everyone is accessing the vital health services they need.
Female Community Influencers visiting Bishara and her children to talk about health issues. Thanks to their support, Bishara brought her children to the local hospital to receive vaccinations and treatment.

Bishara Adan Hilowle, aged 30, lives in a small village in Luuq district in the south-west of Somalia. She is a mother of nine but sadly has lost three of her children to childhood illnesses. Despite living 3km away, she had never visited her local health centre. Dangerously, all of her children were delivered at home and they had no access to vaccinations.
Unfortunately this is all too common in Somalia. In Bishara’s village, she lives in severe poverty and like her children, she has never received any education. Her husband works away everyday as a labourer and so she has no one else to look after her other children when one is ill and needs medical care. As well as finding it difficult to travel there, women like Bishara are wary and unsure about going to hospital.
In Luuq district, a new initiative aims to change this. Female Community Influencers (FCIs) visit women in their own homes to offer health education, and to encourage women to visit a nearby health facility when necessary. Like Bishara, many women need more than one visit to convince them to attend.
Amina, one of the FCIs, says that it is vital that they do not give up on the women and they continue to visit them until the family are accessing the care they need.
“We understand that a behaviour cannot be changed in one sitting,” she said. “But we are trained to be persistent and follow up with mothers like Bishara until they visit the health facility. In some cases, we can even escort them there. We are proud to be able to support women in our community and help them to make healthy decisions.”
It took three visits to Bishara, and the use of Trócaire’s field ambulance to ensure she visited the hospital, but she was very happy and grateful when she did.
“I never thought it was this easy to get services at the facility,” said Bishara. Her newborn baby was vaccinated against TB and Polio, and one of her older children needed vitamin A as well as treatment for a skin condition that had affected his head.
“Thank you to these women who never gave up on me. They gave me this knowledge so that I was able to get my child protection against these diseases.”
As Bishara now knows how to now access the services, she no longer needs the use of Trócaire’s ambulance and is able to make her own way there.
“I will make sure my children will finish their vaccination schedules,” she added. A decision that will possibly save their lives.
Female Community Influencers’ Support
In just one month, the two local FCIs, Amina and Kafio, have visited 200 households, referring 23 women to the health facility, with all but one having now accessed the necessary services.
“We are very proud of the positive changes we have brought within a month,” says Kafio. “We have earned the respect of the community and we are now known as the Health Teachers.”
Trócaire has partnered with Population Services International (PSI) to pilot this ‘Mother to Mother’ project across a number of districts in Somalia and it has been very effective. In just two months, the programme has:

  • Reached 5,106 women and children
  • Referred 1,388 of these to various reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) services, where already over 65% have accessed the services

The project is part of PSI’s Somali Advocates for Health and Nutrition (SAHAN), supported by UK’s Department for International Development, DFID.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Meet the amazing Nigerian doctor who is the world’s only combined heart and kidney specialist

Olurotimi Badero learnt from an early age to set his own standard. Even though he was remarkably brilliant in school while growing up, his father instilled in him the need to be exceptional in all areas.
That would motivate Badero to practice medicine even in the face of doubts from colleagues and still make a difference.
Olurotimi Badero is the world's only combined heart and kidney specialist doctor. Pic credit: StarGis

Born in Lagos, Nigeria and currently living in the U.S., Badero is now the only doctor in the world to have full specialist training and certifications in both cardiology and nephrology. In other words, he is the first and only person in the world to become a combined heart and kidney doctor.

Image result for olurotimi badero
Olurotimi Badero. Pic credit: BARONESSJ.COM

“By training, I specialised in internal medicine, cardiovascular medicine, invasive & interventional cardiology, nephrology and hypertension, interventional nephrology & endovascular medicine, nuclear cardiology as well as peripheral vascular interventions. Putting all that together, I would like to think of myself as an interventional cardio nephrologist as well as a peripheral vascular interventionalist,” Badero told Financial Nigeria in an interview recently.
The 47-year-old’s journey to the world of medicine began in Nigeria at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Osun state, where he first studied medicine.
After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Ife, he enrolled in the school’s medical program and graduated in 1997. He subsequently moved to the United States to attend the State University of New York, where he completed specialty training in internal medicine in 2004, according to Rising Africa.
Two years later, he earned his specialty degree in nephrology at Emory University in Atlanta. But as he began to treat patients in this field, he realized that he wanted to do more than that.
“While I was in training at Emory University School of Medicine as a kidney specialist… I quickly found out that the commonest cause of death for the patients that died was heart disease and not kidney diseases. And we were doing a great job taking care of these patients but ultimately they died from a disease I didn’t have much control of as I would have loved to. That was a challenge I had to embrace being someone, whose decision to be a physician was to make a difference. I realized it was very difficult for me to make that difference, albeit we were taking care of patients and they were living longer.
“So that set the stage for me to decide if I wanted to explore ways of becoming more effective. I started toying with the idea of going back to specialise in cardiology because I really wanted to get to the bottom of the problem,” he told Financial Nigeria.

Image result for olurotimi badero
Dr. Olurotimi Badero is saving lives. Pic credit: Jackson Free press
Thus, Badero returned to SUNY to earn his specialty degree in cardiology in 2009. Three years after, he was accepted into Yale University, where he earned three more specialties: interventional cardiology, peripheral vascular medicine and peripheral vascular convention.

Altogether, I spent ten years of continuous post-graduate medical training which I later found out was unprecedented, he said.
With these qualifications, Badero has now become one of the interventional cardiologists to reckon with in the U.S., a field in medical practice that has fewer African-Americans and blacks.
His achievements have also caught the eye of many medical organizations, including the Association of Black Cardiologists, which presented Badero with an award for excellence in cardiology in 2008.
The cardio-nephrologist, who is currently on the editorial board of the International Journal of Nephrology & Renovascular Disease, was also named one of Jackson, Mississippi’s Best surgeons.
He had, after his training from 2001 to 2010, accepted a position as an interventional cardiologist at Central Mississippi Medical Center (CMMC) in 2011. There, he performed the first radial coronary angioplasty in CMMC history and treated nephrology patients for two years without additional pay, according to Rising Africa.

Image result for olurotimi badero
Olurotimi Badero is the world’s only combined heart and kidney specialist doctor. Pic credit: Zimbabwe Today

That same year, he did a one-year fellowship in interventional nephrology and dialysis before forming Cardiac, Renal & Vascular Associates in 2013. Today, Badero is the Executive Director of Cardiac Renal & Vascular Associates, the Medical Director of St. Joseph Hospice, and he is on the global Advisory Board of the therapeutics experts on Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis, Merck Pharmaceuticals U.S.A.
Badero would never forget how challenging it was when he first moved to the U.S. and decided to pursue medicine. Having to survive, he had to join his uncle’s cab driving business as a driver while many laughed at his dream of wanting to become a doctor in the U.S.
I drove the cab during the day, and I prepared for my exams at night. I did not have money to buy books, but I used the library. I remember a time I had to eat only bread for 3 days.
“It was tough, I wanted to leave America, but I said come what may I will take that exam. I could not afford remedial classes, and this was an exam of three parts that people fail regularly and normally retake several times. The failure rate then for that exam was about 90%”, he was quoted by Nigeriandoctors.
Badero persevered and today, he is using his exceptional skills to improve lives in his community. 
“I learnt very early in life that a goal without a plan is only a wish and that there is no testimony without a test. The only time that success comes before work is in the dictionary. I also learnt from my dad the value of hard work, as well as, perseverance and not letting the moments define you but defining the moment by embracing the challenge,” he said.