As a global health thought leader, I write opinion pieces covering different aspects of healthcare globally, in Africa and Nigeria. I have written opinion pieces on COVID-19, vaccine nationalisim, decolonization, decolonizing global health, mental health, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, health and technology, universal health coverage, health financing, climate change, entertainment, documentaries, music, movies, WASH etc. Read my opinion pieces below.

Dear U.N.: Could you add these 4 overlooked items to the General Assembly agenda?

Dear United Nations General Assembly,

We know you have a lot to discuss at the 78th session of the general assembly, which is taking place this week. You’ve got pandemic preparedness, universal health coverage, climate change, poverty, hunger, global inequality and a special focus on bringing an end to the scourge of tuberculosis.

We’d humbly like to suggest adding a few overlooked topics to the agenda.

Doctors in Nigeria Deserve Better Treatment from their Lawmakers

Nigeria’s Federal House of Representatives wants to prevent Nigerian-trained doctors and dentists from leaving the country until after 5 years post-qualification. The bill seeks to prevent Nigerian-trained medical or dental practitioners from being granted full licenses until they have worked for a minimum of five years in the country. This bill is wrong. It is not the right way to treat doctors and dentists who work in some of the most difficult circumstances to save lives in Nigeria.

Time to Ensure Equity in Global Research Vocabulary

A recent publication in the journal PLOS Medicine reviewed the relationship between COVID-19 and mental health in eight low- and middle-income countries, collectively referred to as LMICs. As important as this publication is, we are appalled by the widespread use of the term “low- and middle-income countries” utilized in this article, and indeed in the majority of the global health literature and discourse.

This term vastly oversimplifies the relationship both between individual LMICs, and between LMICs and High-income countries (HICs).

The 2023 Annual Convening of Global Atlantic Fellows in Oxford was a Homecoming

This year’s annual convening of global Atlantic fellows took place in the historic and inequitable city of Oxford, United Kingdom from July 11 to 18, 2023. Historic because every inch of the city is steeped in history. Inequitable because in the midst of great privilege lie stark inequalities. The United Kingdom is dear to my heart. In 2007, I received my masters in community health degree at the world’s first school of tropical medicine — the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). Further, while I was studying at LSTM, I took two courses on health economics at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University.

COVID-19’s Lessons for Climate Action

It is official: July was the hottest month on record. Global warming is happening, and its costs continue to mount. The World Meteorological Organization recently noted that, “Extreme weather, climate and water-related events caused 11,778 reported disasters between 1970 and 2021, with just over 2 million deaths and US$ 4.3 trillion in economic losses.” Like a pandemic, climate change affects everyone, everywhere. In Canada, the Northwest Territories’ capital, Yellowknife, was recently evacuated, as hundreds of wildfires scorched the region

This is How to Save 14 Billion Liters of Breastmilk

Recent research published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health shows that annually, 14 billion liters of breast milk that could be produced to feed babies is not due to cultural barriers and structural impediments to breastfeeding. This is unfortunate since there are many benefits to breastmilk. For instance, the World Health Organization says that, “breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life. 

What Sub-Saharan African Nations Can Teach the U.S. About Black Maternal Health

New research shows that Black mothers in the United States disproportionately live in counties with higher maternal vulnerability and face greater risk of preterm death for the fetus, greater risk of low birth weight for a baby, and a higher number of maternal deaths. While poor maternal outcomes among Black women in the U.S. is not new, improving it is imperative. U.S. policymakers can look to sub-Saharan Africa for guidance on reversing this trend.

Mental Health Must Be Addressed in Medical Facilities and in Communities

Patients who visit public clinics in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, are asked mental health questions to detect signs of stress and depression early. The process starts with a basic checklist, with patients referred to a nurse, doctor, or specialist. Asking these questions at primary care not only can identify issues early on, but it also helps decrease the stigma often associated with mental health while maintaining anonymity. 

Health Solidarity Is Health Security

Kicking off the United Nations’ second annual Sustainable Development Goals Moment last month, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas emphasized the role of solidarity as a driver of change. “Global solidarity is more important than ever,” she said. “Together, we have an extraordinary opportunity to change the world we live in.” mazzucato47_getty images Politics 6 The Entrepreneurial State Must Lead on Climate Change MARIANA MAZZUCATO explains how governments, and only governments, can accelerate the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. While Chopra Jonas was referring to the fight against climate change, that sentiment could apply to many other global issues. Solidarity is essential to solving many of humanity’s most pressing challenges. But it is crucial for achieving health security.

Let's Eradicate Polio – an Urgent Health Priority

Recently, the governor of the state of New York in the United States, declared a state of emergency over polio. This declaration followed the discovery of the poliovirus in sewage samples in four counties. Because of the New York cases, the U.S. is now on a list of countries with circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV). This spread of a preventable virus must end. A VDPV is a strain related to the weakened live poliovirus contained in oral polio vaccine (OPV). If allowed to circulate in populations with low polio vaccination coverage or to replicate in immunocompromised individuals, the weakened virus can revert to a form that causes illness and paralysis. VDPV is passed in stool. Hence the importance of testing sewage for evidence.

It’s Time to Hear Voices of long COVID Across Africa

On October 10 2022, I was a panelist on a long COVID webinar hosted by Epidemic Ethics. Other panelists were Dr. Rachel Grob and Dr. Janet Diaz. It was chaired by Dr. Voo Teck Chuan. The title of the webinar was Long COVID: Minding the Gap Between Infection Disease and Chronic Condition. Being the only African on the panel, I provided the African perspectives in general and Nigeria’s specifically.  As a public health physician and COVID-19 vaccination advocate, I always use long COVID as a reason for people to get vaccinated because it’s a trade-off. People need to make informed decisions. Across Africa, we must recognise that long COVID is a serious issue; measure the burden of long COVID; and provide care for long COVID sufferers.

Begin Your Life of Wellness Today

Recently, the World Health Organization published the global status report on physical activity 2022. The report identifies that regular physical activity promotes both mental and physical health for people of all ages. It is never too late to become more active. I am a public health doctor who focuses primarily on prevention, and I am a fitness buff. I engage in physical activity daily by walking my dog, riding my bicycle or lifting weights. I see the benefits of wellness in my life, and I readily recommend it to all. These are five practical ways to live a life of wellness. Of course, some of these recommendations are easier to do regularly with time, resources, and a safe neighbourhood, but any little bit can make a difference. First, exercise as many days a week as possible. John Rohn, an American entrepreneur and motivational speaker said, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

100 Million People with Long COVID is a Crisis We Must Address

More than two-years in, the COVID-19 pandemic rages on with rising cases and deaths every day. A silent and more long-term pandemic occurring simultaneously is long COVID. The impact of long COVID has serious consequences for the future of humanity and should worry us all. The recent Household Pulse Survey by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control shows that an average of 14% of US adults report long COVID symptoms. This is staggering because 93 million cases have been reported in the U.S. This implies that 13 million people in the U.S. have long COVID. Long COVID is also a global phenomenon: 2 million people in the United Kingdom, half million in Australia, and more than 100 million people globally.

Monkeypox: 5 Things You Should Know Now

The World Health Organization recently declared monkeypox outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This declaration should spur international collaborations and actions to respond to this current global outbreak of monkeypox, which has more than 25,000 cases across 83 countries (76 did not historically report monkeypox), with several deaths reported. Monkeypox is usually a self-limiting disease, with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with rashes, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding. 

5 Things I'd change about Netflix's 'Young, Famous & African'

Recently, Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo underwent a surgical procedure for recurrent leg pain at Duchess International Hospital, Lagos. This use of a Nigerian hospital by one of Nigeria’s political elites is rare. President Muhammadu Buhari himself is notorious for frequent travels to the United Kingdom for medical treatment. In 2017, Buhari spent 104 days in one visit receiving medical care in the UK. Expectedly, Nigerians showed their support and wished Osinbajo well. Duchess International Hospital tweeted: “honoured to have been chosen to provide His Excellency’s surgical treatment” and issued a press release. The CEO and Medical Director of Duchess International Hospital went on media rounds. One can imagine that the hospital pulled all the stops to provide quality healthcare to Osinbajo. 

Dance to Buga, but please don’t do this

Buga by Kizz Daniel and Tekno has everyone dancing globally. The song has gone viral on TikTok and even Nigerian political parties have succumbed to Buga fever, using it as a victory song. In some of May, Buga was the most Shazammed song in the world. It is little wonder then that since the song’s music video premiered on 22 June, it has garnered more than 34 million views. Buga’s theme is aspirational, encouraging people to wake up and be successful. The video features dancers in colourful costumes exuding joy in celebration evocative of Mardi Gras, Calabar Carnival, or a carnival in the Caribbean. As Nigerians, the infectious song by Nigerian artists makes us feel proudly Naija. However, as medical professionals, there is one moment in the video that worries us.

Why governments must prepare for pandemics

The rise is mostly driven by the omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, showing that the pandemic is changing but not over. It is clear that the global community would still feel more financial, social and health consequences of the pandemic. The end is not in sight. In Nigeria, COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on lives, economies, livelihoods and healthcare. The pandemic has killed at least 3,144. According to the World Bank, the early part of the pandemic pushed Nigeria into its deepest recession since the 1980s, affecting mostly services and industry. The economy recovered in later stages of the pandemic. 

Nigeria’s 2023 elections: Health priorities for the country’s next president

First, there should be increased funding for universal health coverage, by expanding the federal budget for healthcare to meet the Abuja Declaration of a minimum of 15 per cent of the total budget, by tapping into the private sector to support healthcare delivery. Funding universal health coverage to address the catastrophic out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure of Nigerians would require adequately financing the newly minted National Health Insurance Authority, working in partnership with state health insurance schemes.

Polio Eradication Will Take Funds and Awareness

For forty days, Kunle Adeyanju – a Nigerian, Rotarian, polio eradication advocate and biker – rode for more than 12,500km from London to Lagos to raise funds for polio eradication. Adeyanju documented his journey on Twitter, where his handle is appropriately named @lionheart1759. Indeed, it takes one with a lion’s heart to embark on such a bold adventure. People like philanthropist Bill Gates, who works on polio eradication, and the CEO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal, tweeted out their support and admiration.

5 reasons healthcare workers are not worried about vaccine side effects

Side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and short lived. By contrast, the benefits of the vaccine can last years! Anyone who has ever had a vaccine knows there can be short-term side effects. These often include a sore arm or feeling fatigued for a day or two. The COVID-19 vaccine is no different. One of the largest studies on COVID-19 vaccines side effects is the ZOE COVID Symptom Study App in the United Kingdom. 

Media coverage of monkeypox paints it as an African virus. That makes me mad

The world is in the midst of a monkeypox outbreak. The World Health Organization has recorded more than 500 cases in 30 countries this year – including the United Kingdom, the United States and a number of European nations. And how do Western media outlets illustrate the story? The BBC, the Independent, CNBC and ABC News are among those that have used a stock photo of a Black person with monkeypox blisters. It would be as if Nigeria, which has seen 247 cases since 2017 and 66 so far this year, would use photos exclusively of white people with monkeypox in covering its national epidemic. Absurd, right?

Corruption Kills

Nigeria’s accountant-general, the administrative head of the country’s treasury, has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly stealing 80 billion naira ($134 million). This is a staggering theft in a country that has an estimated poverty rate of 95 million (48% of the population) and some of the worst health indices in the world. As a universal health coverage and global health equity advocate, I know that Nigeria’s health system would be stronger and work better by blocking these leakages and channeling the funds to provide universal health coverage for every Nigerian. Indeed, the stealing of public funds denies millions of people healthcare, which comes with severe health consequences. 

Blood Sisters Not Only Entertains but Highlights Important Social Issues

Netflix’s first original Nigerian TV series is the focus of rave reviews in the country. The mini-series is a story of two best friends, Sarah and Kemi. When Sarah calls off her engagement because of domestic violence, her fiancé Kola strangles her, and Kemi shoots him to save Sarah. The two friends become fugitives. It is a star-studded movie with some of Nigeria’s best actors in it, including the ageless Kate Henshaw, the eloquent Joke Silva, the emotive Gabriel Afolayan and a host of other stars. However, what I found most praiseworthy was how this piece focuses on five important social issues.

Maternal healthcare for women globally needs improvement

Serena Williams, one of the greatest tennis players in history, almost died due to blood clots after giving birth. The life-threatening blood clot wasn’t the problem. The problem was her nurse’s refusal to listen to her cry for help. Williams had enough presence of mind to insist, and she was lucky that her doctor listened and agreed to a CAT scan, which confirmed her fears. There are several ways blood clots could be fatal or debilitating. Primarily, blood clots block blood from getting to organs of the body. This could lead to stroke in the brain, heart attack in the heart, loss of limbs in arms and legs and death of lung tissues in the lungs.

5 Things I'd change about Netflix's 'Young, Famous & African'

I was willing to give Young, Famous & African, which debuted on Netflix on March 18, a chance. After all, it’s an original reality show from the streaming service, it’s set in Africa — and the premise seemed fun. It follows a group of African A-list stars and media moguls as they look for love, build their careers and enjoy a lavish lifestyle. But the constant flaunting of wealth from the characters – among many other annoyances — grated on my nerves. Does South African actress Khanyi Mbau really wake up to someone playing The Godfather theme song on piano every morning?

We Must Carry on Paul Farmer’s Work on Social Determinants of Health

Paul Farmer’s death at only 62 is untimely. However, his death at UGHE is symbolic, for he watches over a world-class institution that is training the next generation of health equity warriors. Africans believe that death is not an end. It is a transition to a new world. We are consoled that Farmer has joined our ancestors, watching over us. We must not despair. We must keep putting the social determinants of health at the center of healthcare delivery and planning. That is what he would do, and it is the most equitable thing to do.

Preventing tooth decay in resource-limited settings

For the first time since it was first published in 1977, dental medicines have been added to the World Health Organization Essential Drug List. How could it take 44 years to include these items on a list addressing people’s priority needs given that untreated tooth decay is the most common global health condition?

Ten things you should know about the Covid-19 vaccine

I am excited to be fully vaccinated and have received my booster dose too. It is important for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible in order for us to have a chance of ending this ongoing crisis. Here are ten things you should know as you prepare to get vaccinated. The World Health Organisation has eight Covid-19 vaccines globally. Four of them are currently in use in Nigeria. These are Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech. 

I'm shocked by the racist cartoons and travel bans sparked by omicron

On Nov. 28, the Spanish newspaper La Tribuna de Albacete published a comic depicting the omicron variants as cartoon characters with brown skin and nappy hair, packed in a boat marked with a South African flag and approaching land with a European Union flag waving on its shores. On the same day, the German newspaper Die Rheinpfalz published a front-page story with the headline “The virus from Africa is with us,” accompanied by a photo of two Black Africans. And on Dec. 2, a Bangkok Post headline read, “Government hunts for African visitors.”

A Travel Ban on African Countries Won't Stop the Omicron Spread

South African scientists are some of the best in the world at the genetic sequencing of viruses. They demonstrated this expertise last week when they alerted the global community to a new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 – called Omicron – which the World Health Organization rapidly classified a ‘variant of concern”, thanks to the immediate data sharing by African scientists. International responses to this feat of scientific discovery is shocking but unsurprising.

A Public Health Approach to Ending Building Collapses in Nigeria

Since 2007, 145 buildings have collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous state and so-called centre of excellence. Recently, a nother building under construction in Lagos has collapsed in the highbrow Ikoyi area. This time, it is a 21-storey “luxury” high rise building. An unknown number of victims are trapped under the rubble. So far, 42 bodies have been recovered with 15 survivors. 

6th EpiAFRIC Health Meets Tech Hackathon: Navigating Healthcare Post-COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world. It has killed millions, wrecked businesses, destroyed livelihoods and stagnated economic growth. All these negative outcomes are thanks to a virus – the coronavirus. Prior to 2020, few people believed that an infection which begins in one corner of the earth could reach other parts within hours and change the world the way most of us know it. 

Use COVID-19 lessons to boost HIV vaccine push

There must be equity in enrollment into HIV vaccine trials, procurement and distribution of a safe and efficacious vaccine. A 2020 scoping review on engagement of racial and ethnic minorities in HIV treatment and vaccine clinical trials showed that despite the knowledge of how to better recruit racial and ethnic minorities, few interventions have been documented using these strategies. It is important to decentralise the clinical trial to take place in different regions simultaneously. 

We must increase people’s access to and willingness to take COVID-19 vaccines

The willingness to take COVID-19 vaccines was highest in LMICs, with an average of 80.3% (Nepal was highest scoring above 90%). Concern about side effects is the most frequently expressed reason for reluctance in getting vaccinated among LMICs. Across the board, respondents identify health workers as the most trustworthy sources to help them make decisions to take COVID-19 vaccines. 

It’s time to listen to African climate scientists

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a new report that detailed the worsening trends in climate and the future we collectively face. As African scientists from Kenya and Nigeria, one of the first things we did was to check the author list of the IPCC report to see how Africans were represented and what we found disappointed us. Disappointingly, the number of scientists from Africa was low.

A Public Health Approach to Ending Election Violence in Nigeria

The next general elections in Nigeria to elect the President, Vice-President, Senators and members of the federal House of Representatives is scheduled for February 23, 2023. Six months out, violent rhetoric is already escalating and the polity is heating up. Violence leading to deaths has marred previous elections in Nigeria, but it shouldn’t anymore.

How Schools Can Address Mental Health Among their Community

Every year, the month of May is celebrated as mental health awareness month. The World Health Organization defines mental health as, a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.  Schools have important roles to play because they contribute by training and grooming students for the future, in partnership with governments, parents and guardians. 

‘Blood is life’, but why aren’t Africans donating more of it?

Four weeks ago, I donated my 16th pint of blood. I consider blood donation a lifesaver. I am comforted by the saying that: “He who saves a life, saves the whole world.” Every time I donate blood, I visualise how the blood would save a life – someone who has dreams to achieve. I imagine that this person survives and goes ahead to do great things in the future. The recipient of my blood may live to discover the next world-changing innovation. The possibilities of someone who donates blood in shaping the futures of recipients are endless. I want more Africans to be blood donors like me, but I know there are barriers, including cultural ones. 

Opinion: I'm Nigerian. I'm Vaccinated. Europe Won't Let Me In

I’m fully vaccinated. I want to travel to Europe. And fully vaccinated visitors are welcome. But I can’t get in. That’s because the vaccine I received is not on Europe’s list of four approved vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca, but only the version manufactured in the United Kingdom or Europe and known as Vaxzevria. The version that’s much more widely used around the world, which is made by the Serum Institute of India and branded as Covishield, is not on the list of vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency. And that’s the vaccine I got — along with hundreds of millions of other people, mostly in lower- and middle-income countries.

Naomi Osaka’s Bravery can be a Teachable Moment about Mental Health

We must stop viewing Black women as having higher pain threshold. It is a common misconception for Blacks to be seen to tolerate pain better than other races. According to Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, 40% of first- and second-year medical students were of the belief that “Black people’s skin is thicker than white people’s.” Even at childbirth, Black women are sometimes refused pain medications because of this wrong belief. This leads to verbal and physical abuse of someone dealing with a debilitating health condition.

It Takes a Community to Defeat COVID-19

The media is awash with the devastating news of deaths and sufferings due to COVID-19 coming out of India. What most media outlets overlook is the way Indian communities are rallying to save lives, reduce sufferings and stop the current wave of the pandemic. India is really struggling with Covid-19 and needs global support. Importantly, communities have to be acknowledged as the true heroes in this second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in India. Without support however, even they cannot flatten the COVID-19 curve. The government must show responsibility to ensure that these community efforts are amplified.

Strive Masiyiwa, Dangote Group, Safaricom… Africa’s private sector leads the fight against Covid

Private sector organisations are unsung heroes in healthcare delivery across Africa, and they should be recognised and celebrated. Whether formal or informal organisations, the private sector contributes to improving health across the continent. Notably, Africa’s exemplary Covid-19 response would not be so successful without the participation of the private sector. Their support has spanned Covid-19 prevention, diagnostics, therapeutics and emergency care.

Africa: Re: Open Letter to International Funders of Science and Development in Africa

If global health by its nature addresses issues such as health inequalities and inequities, it is most ironic that the funding and administrative structures that enable activities in the sector are steeped in similar inequities driven by supremacy. Clearly, that culture must change. Bringing about this necessary change will not rely on efforts by international funding organizations alone. Vital stakeholders in this discussion would include African national governments and the African Union.

How West African Leaders Can Tackle Youth and Gender Inequities

Recently, both Republics of Benin and Chad held their 2021 national elections. These countries are among thirteen countries on the continent billed to elect new political leaders in 2021 alone. This is a good opportunity to improve conditions on the continent. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified other issues on the continent like youth unemployment that better leadership could help improve. These are three ways West African leaders can better help their nations at this time of COVID-19 and beyond. First, the rate of youth unemployment must be effectively tackled.

To President Buhari: ‘There is still time to become Nigeria’s universal health coverage hero’

President Muhammadu Buhari has embarked on another medical tourism trip to the UK for two weeks. By the time he comes back to the country next week, he will have spent more than 200 days going on medical tourism since he was sworn-in as Nigeria’s President in May 2015. In comparison, millions of Nigerians do not have access to healthcare and have no form of health insurance cover.

COVID-19 pandemic-related suicides are increasing – here’s what we need to do

A silent pandemic is brewing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – a mental health one. New research published by Nature Human Behaviour (1) shows monthly suicide rates increased in Japan by 16% during the second wave of the pandemic (July to October 2020), with larger rates of increase among females (37%) and children and adolescents (49%). The increase among women was about five times that of men. The increase in suicide rates was attributed to lost jobs, lost incomes and a sense of hopelessness.

Three Ways the US Can Promote Equity in Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic Globally

As richer western nations continue hoarding COVID-19 vaccines to the detriment of poorer nations, there is some light on the horizon. On April 15, 2021, the U.S. will join the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) and co-host the launch of the Investment Opportunity for COVAX Advance Market Commitment. The aim of the event is to raise more funds to ensure at least 1.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are available to 92 low-income nations. The U.S. recently donated $4 billion to COVAX and this new leadership role is highly commendable.

Grammy Winner Burna Boy Makes Music — And Social Noise

Burna Boy’s Grammy Award win for Best Global Music Album makes me feel – as we Nigerians say — “Proudly Naija.” And I am not alone. Nigerians everywhere are ecstatic that he has won the prestigious award. In case you’re not familiar with his music, here’s how NPR described it when he came to perform a Tiny Desk concert in 2019: “The Nigerian singer and songwriter is one of the biggest African artists in the world. He’s also a pioneer of Afro-fusion which incorporates sonics and influences from a myriad of genres, laid on an Afrobeat foundation. 

13 Things I Did (And Did Not) Love About 'Coming 2 America': An African Perspective

In the 1990s, I watched Coming to America as a young medical student in Nigeria. I loved Eddie Murphy’s character Akeem (a common name in Nigeria) – quick wit, rakish charm, carefree — and the wealth of the African nation Zamunda, a nice contrast to typical depictions of Africa as poor. Now, 22 years after graduation from medical school, I watched its sequel, Coming 2 America.

Battling misinformation wars in Africa: applying lessons from GMOs to COVID-19

Through the 1990s, scientists downplayed GMO misinformation spread by activist groups – and scepticism about GMO technologies continued to grow, despite overwhelming evidence on their safety. With a new issue like the COVID-19 vaccine, opinions are being formed now.

Four lessons from Covid to help African leaders prepare for next pandemic

Vaccine nationalism is a fancy way of describing the vaccine inequity being perpetrated by richer western nations that are buying up Covid-19 vaccines to the detriment of poorer nations.

In a time of Covid, we must not forget other tropical diseases

Madhu Pai, Professor and Canada Research Chair of Epidemiology and Global Health at McGill University wrote about the “covidization” of research and every aspect of development, meaning everyone has focused research, funding and attention on COVID-19.

Why I'm An Invisible Man In The Global Vaccine Campaign

I am shocked that these wealthier nations think this is the best way to protect their people from a global pandemic that does not respect borders.

What developing countries can teach rich countries about how to respond to a pandemic

Their mantra might best be summarised as: act decisively, act together and act now. When resources are limited, containment and prevention are the best strategies

Here's How Africans Can Advocate for Covid-19 Vaccine Equity

As an African, I am disappointed at these leaders who have become so dependent on rich western nations to fund every aspect of healthcare delivery on the continent…

Protecting Mental Health of Families in a Pandemic

Dealing with COVID-19-related city lockdowns has been exceptionally stressful, particularly for those parents who have had to balance work, personal life, children…

Women Need Support and Understanding after Miscarriage

Recently, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, wrote a piece sharing about her miscarriage. I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second, she wrote.

The COVID Comorbidity Crisis

Growing evidence shows that COVID-19 survivors can suffer from long-term health effects, not least heart-related complications. 

A Nigerian Finds Hard Truths — And Hope — In Netflix Series On Nigeria

The street where I grew up in Kano, northwest Nigeria, is called Independence Road. Each day, it reminded me of Nigeria’s independence and sovereignty from Great Britain on Oct. 1, 1960.

Eye Care Globally Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc—infecting more than 33 million people globally—it has also caused significant disruptions in eye health services, with a particular emphasis on care for cataracts.

Africans Mourn Chadwick Boseman: 'A Great Tree Has Fallen'

The death of actor Chadwick Boseman last week at the age of 43 came as a shock to many Africans. I liken it to the death of a great African King. 

We Are Africans. Here's Our View Of Beyoncé's 'Black Is King'

There are two kinds of reactions to Beyoncé’s new Black Is King video: lavish praise – and deep criticism. The praise comes from her many fans and from many reviewers. 

Aren’t We Missing Food Security Experts in the Incoming President-Elect Biden-Kamala Harris Administration?

Food insecurity across the U.S. continues to be on the rise because of the effects of COVID-19. According to Feeding America, over 50 million Americans will experience food insecurity, including 17 million children.

Nigerian Focus Group Reveals Why Ending Gender-Based Violence is Necessary

COVID-19 lockdown leads to an increase in sexual and gender violence. Sadly, the United Nations documented more than 3600 cases of rapes during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria.

Tooth decay is a disease of inequality. Here's how governments can improve dental care

New research from The Lancet’s oral health series shows that tooth decay affects 34% of the global population and could affect up to 90% of indigenous children. Tooth decay is one of the most common and neglected noncommunicable diseases. It is a disease of inequity, disproportionately affecting some of the world’s poorest people. This should not be allowed to continue.

COVID-19 shows why Universal Health Care is essential

COVID-19 has highlighted the lack of universal health care globally and its negative impact on world health. The lessons learned support the need for universal health care and should be used as guides to ensure that everyone has access to equitable, affordable and safe healthcare, irrespective of ability to pay, poverty, race, gender and level of education. Only then, will the world be better prepared for the next pandemic.

Lessons from Nigeria in Responding to Coronavirus

Most of these measures occurred after a significant number of cases were documented. In contrast, Nigeria, where I am based, has shown a remarkable level of preparedness and response to the Coronavirus pandemic even with just 12 cases diagnosed. These efforts are led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Nigeria’s past experiences of quickly responding to the 2014 Ebola outbreak and continuously responding to other infectious diseases such as Lassa fever, have strengthened its health security capacity. 

Our Top Global Stories Of 2020 Not About The Pandemic

It seemed like there was only one global health story this year: the pandemic. But that wasn’t the only topic that grabbed our audience’s attention. According to NPR’s data on page views, readers were attracted to all kinds of Goats and Soda stories in 2020. The mix of content might surprise you. A 2019 story about how to teach kids to control their anger made a huge comeback. Readers loved our commentary on the Netflix reality show Indian Matchmaking — and an explainer on locusts. And photos of our beautiful planet made a big impression. 

Helping Premature Babies Survive

Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death globally for children under five. Of the 15 million babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy every year, approximately one million will die. But new research conducted at secondary and tertiary health facilities in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan offers hope for increased survival rates.

Making the Most of the Malaria Vaccine

 A new malaria vaccine now being piloted in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 90% of malaria cases occur, could be a game changer in global health. But, if the new vaccine is to fulfill its potential, health ministries will need to make some important changes. Each year, malaria kills one million people worldwide, the majority of whom are children under five years of age. 

UNAIDS and WHO Africa Leaders Should Prioritize Women’s Health

In these powerful roles, they should also prioritize addressing issues uniquely affecting women — from HIV to childbirth to infectious diseases — because when women are healthy, the society progresses. Further, the health of women is a measure of a society’s level of development. As a father to two daughters, I am rooting for Ms. Byanyima and Dr. Moeti to succeed and leave the world healthier than they met it. This is what they can do.

Here’s How the World Can Be Better Prepared to Handle Epidemics

To be assigned a ReadyScore, countries should undergo a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) which is a voluntary, collaborative, multisectoral process to assess country capacities to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to public health risks whether occurring naturally or due to deliberate or accidental events. Right now, only 100 out of 195 countries (51 percent) have conducted the JEE. 

The Mental Health Consequences of the Lekki Toll Gate Attack

On October 20, 2020, young Nigerians who were protesting against police brutality were shot by men in Nigerian military uniforms. Unarmed, peaceful citizens were massacred at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.

Google’s $10 Billion Investment in India Should be Inclusive of Persons with Disabilities

Over the next seven years, Google will invest a whopping $10 billion in India to improve technology, health and education, according to CEO Sundar Pichai. This is unprecedented and could be a game changer that could improve health, education and economic empowerment.

5 ways to meet the needs of people with disabilities during pandemics

A 12-year-old visually impaired girl in India recently died for lack of food, medicines, and financial help — all things which were harder to access during the coronavirus lockdown.

How Google's Project Loon Can Improve Epidemic Preparedness

These balloons are part of an initiative by Google’s Project Loon and Telekom Kenya. Although this project has been long in the making, it was fast-tracked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Strengthening Biosecurity Preparedness in Africa

Recently, the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) mooted a single market for goods and services due to the ease of traffic to deepen the economic integration of the African continent. A single market would enhance the prevailing biosecurity threats.

The new dexamethasone- COVID-19 study should be viewed with caution

A new study shows a steroid, dexamethasone, improves the survival of some COVID-19 patients, especially those with severe forms of the diseases. These include some on ventilators and some who require oxygen.

Nigeria’s Mental Health Desert

The survey of 5,315 respondents, conducted by our organizations – EpiAFRIC and the Africa Polling Institute – found that 84% believe that mental disorders are attributable to drug abuse, 60% link such disorders to “sickness of the mind,” 54% to “possession by evil spirits,” and 23% to “punishment by God.”

Countering Misinformation Should be Part of Health Interventions

Fifteen percent of respondents said that they would eat garlic and ginger to prevent COVID-19 infection. Twenty-six percent of the respondents said they were immune to COVID-19. Among the 26%, reasons given for the perceived immunity were: I am a child of God (40%)…

Four Ways to Combat Malaria in the Time of COVID-19

African governments must focus on opportunities within the informal health sector in addition to working towards universal health coverage for all as a way to combat malaria. These are four ways to achieve that.

Remote work is good for business, and the world

The success of remote work is no coincidence. Studies have shown that when it is done right, remote work can improve employee productivity, creativity and morale. It has also been established that remote work leads workers to take fewer sick days and less vacation time, resulting in more workdays overall.

Four Ways Nigeria Can Reduce Importing COVID-19 Via Its Border

As a public health physician in Nigeria, I have worked in communities along these land borders and seen firsthand how porous they are. Some of them are farmlands, some are forests while some are parts of households.

One Health in Nigeria

Three abattoirs were surveyed, photographed and operators interviewed. The abattoirs were filthy with animals slaughtered on bare floors, and dogs feeding on leftovers. Car tires were used to burn furs off slaughtered animals.

Neglected Diseases Kill More People than COVID-19 – It’s Time to Address Them

As COVID-19 surges globally and leaves fear and panic in its wake, global efforts are underway to find a cure. Yet, the same level of response is lacking for several other infectious diseases that kill millions annually.

News Agencies Must Paint a Complete Picture of Coronavirus

Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “We have an epidemic caused by Coronavirus, but we have a pandemic caused by fear “. This fear is worsened by how news agencies report the outbreak. These are some examples. “Bodies ‘pile up’ in morgue as Iran feels strain of coronavirus” – CNN 

Businesses can help stop coronavirus and future infectious disease outbreaks

CEOs and boards must realize that funding epidemic preparedness makes business sense and have huge returns on investments — and it’s just the right thing to do.

Let’s Prevent Post-partum Depression and Provide Care to Those in Need

No one really cares about how the women feel, if they are still haunted by the memories of childbirth, how they are coping with the immense bodily changes, if they are emotionally ready to have sex, if they even want to go through pregnancy ever again.

Why the Coronavirus Should Worry Us All

The rapid nature of its origin and speed in transmission reminds us that national security is threatened when a pathogen can travel from a remote village to major cities on all continents in 36 hours. Therefore, global health security should be given the same priority as national security.

Why an Ebola Vaccine Is Not Enough

When the US Food and Drug Administration approved the new Ebola vaccine Ervebo last month, I was elated. Ervebo can generate a quick immune response after a single dose, with protection occurring within ten days.

It’s Time to Put a Full Stop on Period Poverty

Recently, when I used a men’s restrooms at the George Washington University’s Milken School of Public Health in Washington, DC, I was pleasantly surprised to see free packs of tampons and sanitary pads. This was a first for me.

Four Lessons to Reverse Inequity in the Global Health Workforce

Recently, Madhukar Pai, the Director of McGill University Global Health Program wrote about the inequity in global health research. He observed that researches are skewed in favor of the global north.

It's time to channel household expenditures into health insurance in Nigeria

Ten years ago, our first child, Yagazie, was born, her Igbo name meaning “it is well.” She weighed 3.5 kilograms at birth and was a bubbly child. As new parents, my wife and I were elated.

Lay media reporting of monkeypox in Nigeria

In October 2017, the first confirmed case of a monkeypox outbreak was reported in Bayelsa State, Nigeria, although suspected cases started to be reported in September 2017.

Four Ways to Prevent Lassa Fever Deaths

Dr. Wouter, a Dutch doctor who helped perform surgeries and train colleagues in surgical skills in underserved areas of Sierra Leone died of Lassa Fever. He was infected as a result of performing a Caesarean section on an infected pregnant woman.

Community Efforts are Key When Addressing HIV/AIDS

Three years ago, I led an evaluation of an HIV project that focused on increasing access to quality care and supporting services for people living with HIV in Nigeria. It also aimed to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

Gasping for Air: Doctor’s death exposes inherent risks of Nigerian public hospitals

Despite her deep dedication to duty and commitment to her patients, Rosemary, unfortunately, died in the same hospital where she worked, in the same department she headed.

4 ways to end the abuse of women during childbirth

This week I was reminded of those experiences when I read the findings of a new study published by The Lancet. One third of new mothers report abuse during childbirth in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar and Nigeria…

Four ways to address the heart disease-related outcomes of malaria

Recent research shows malaria increases the risk of heart failure by 30%, implying a double jeopardy for the health and wellbeing of people in malaria-endemic countries. The unique connection between malaria and heart failure means an increase in the burden of non-communicable diseases.

How to keep kids in school and fight malnutrition

But there is a solution close at hand for both problems: Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF). The programs have been shown to both combat hunger and keep children in school, and must be urgently scaled-up to reach every primary-school age child in need of food and education.

Four Ways the African Development Bank Can Support a More Secure Africa

Free movement of people and goods across Africa increases the risk of transmission of infectious diseases. The continent must realise that it is no longer a question of if disease outbreaks will occur, but instead, of when, and how fast.

Medical Negligence in Nigeria Must End

Oyin Gucci is a Nigerian woman whose Twitter profile reads, “I am simple. Was once a mother”. A few days ago, she shared the sad story behind her bio. In a series of tweets, she narrated how she lost her nine-month-old son a few months ago due to negligence by a doctor at the General Hospital Ikorodu, in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Dear President Buhari; Without Health, We have Nothing

Mr. President, “without health, we have nothing”. You clearly understand this, for when you were ill you went to great extent to get excellent healthcare. We are thankful that you got the quality of healthcare you needed from the United Kingdom and are now stronger to steer the ship of governance.

59: Great Lofty Heights Unattained

Beyond the celebration, let us imagine that Nigeria is a 59-year-old woman named Wazobia. This is a fair assumption because a society’s level of development is measured by looking at the status of women and the level of their empowerment. What has been the state of Wazobia’s health since Nigeria’s independence in 1960?

Preventing pneumonia must involve more than tech tools

But as promising as Butterfly iQ may be, it can be constrained in the impact it can make in the prevention and treatment of pneumonia and should not be treated as the ultimate solution. Tech is great — resource-poor settings often require simpler solutions to health challenges.

Human-centered plastics recycling interventions can help combat climate change

It is snowing plastics in the arctic — a team of German researchers found more than 10,000 micro-plastics in one liter of snow. This is a wakeup call to anyone who ever doubted the harmful effects of climate change. 

Want to prevent vaccine deaths? Show people the consequences of unvaccinated nations

People’s confidence in the safety and efficacy of vaccines is greater in poor than rich countries, according to Wellcome’s recently published Global Monitor, a survey of 140,000 people from over 140 countries.

Institutionalized racism is keeping black Americans sick

More African American men and women aged between 35-64 are dying due to heart failure compared to people the same age in other racial groups, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology said this month.

Angela Merkel has Done Much to Help Africa; Her Successor Should Continue the Relationship

Indeed, now is the time for the African continent and Germany to cement the great relationships Merkel has fostered, build on the initiatives she has championed and leverage on the network she has brought along.

Let Plants be Thy Medicine – You Are What You Eat

While 45 percent of deaths in children are from nutrition-related causes, mainly malnutrition, diet-related non communicable diseases like obesity is a fast-growing problem across the world causing low- and middle-income countries to face a double burden of malnutrition.

Three Ways to End HIV Stigma and Discrimination

As a Public Health Doctor, I often meet people who experience stigma simply because they live with HIV. One person who still haunts me is a woman who is HIV positive and when she was in labor, a midwife would not help her.

Tapping into Mobile Phones to Advance Africa's Intelligence on Global Health and Food Security

It is official: With 9.3 billion mobile connections, the number of mobile devices on earth now surpasses the 7.6 billion people population. This creates huge opportunities to advance global health and food security through mobile phones.

Five Interventions for Treating Multidrug-Resistant TB

Today TB infects 25 percent of the world’s population, killing 1.6 million people every year. And as I saw firsthand years ago, it is becoming increasingly resistant to conventional drugs. This infectious disease must be taken seriously: it kills more people than HIV and malaria combined.

Rwanda's Lessons on Universal Health Coverage

Rwanda has come a long way in 25 years and their health statistics are among the best in Africa. For instance, above 96% of Rwandans have health insurance, qualifying it as universal health coverage; routine immunization coverage is 99%; and under five mortality rate is 37.9 per 1000 live births.

African Leaders Need to Develop Sustainable Ways of Financing Healthcare

In the face of this, current health spending per person in sub-Saharan Africa is person is $198 a year, versus $1,288 in North Africa and the Middle East. It is clear that sub-Saharan African governments are spending too little on health.

World Health Organisation’s New Effort Can Help End Neglected Tropical Diseases

NTDs disproportionately affect 1.6 billion poor people worldwide. Most of the burden is in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Africa accounts for more than 50% of the global burden of NTDs. South East Asia has the second highest burden of NTDs – the region accounts for 74% of reported cases of leprosy globally.

How good urban farming can combat bad eating

Unhealthy diets pose a bigger global health risk than unsafe sex, alcohol, drug and tobacco use combined. This is according a new report that estimates 820 million people are underfed and that many more consume low-quality diets that substantially increase the risks of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Remittances could be a gamechanger in the quest for UHC. Here's how

At an estimated 15 million people, the Nigerian diaspora is large and growing. One cent on each dollar remitted would have yielded $220 million toward health insurance in 2017 alone. Other African countries would have likewise received significant boosts to health resources: $22 million in Ghana; $8 million in Ethiopia; and $9 million in South Africa.

Don't Call Me Chief: The Need to Redefine Respect in Nigeria's Medical Community

Nineteen years ago, I graduated as a medical doctor. Throughout medical school and during my housemanship training, I was compelled to address my senior colleagues as “Chief” at ward rounds, in clinics and even outside the hospital premises. It was taboo to call your senior colleagues by name. Nineteen years later, it remains a taboo.

African Expertise Key to Stopping Ebola - Then and Now

I was a member of the EpiAFRIC team that evaluated the response of the African Union (AU) to the West African epidemic. The AU had recruited over 800 volunteer medical experts from across the continent to combat the epidemic raging across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

How tech can help win the fight against neglected tropical diseases

Fabiano suffers from river blindness, or onchocerciasis, one of twenty Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) that affect about 1.5 billion of the world’s poorest. That’s more than one-sixth of the global population. Caused by a variety of bacterial, parasitic, viral and fungal infections, these diseases can lead to blindness, disfigurement, malnutrition, growth failure and cognitive impairment.

Should The Health Sector Be Tasked With Road Safety?

There is hardly anyone in Nigeria who does not have a personal tale of road crashes to tell. In 2007, my mother died due to complications of a head injury sustained from an ‘‘okada” (commercial motorcycle) crash. It was a painful and an avoidable death. A report by the CLEEN Foundation showed that in 2013, 47% of road crashes in Nigeria were due to okadas.

Making Sense of a Young Doctor's Death

Ahmed Victor Idowu was a young medical doctor with a passion to reform health care in Nigeria. A recent graduate of the University of Nigeria, in January 2018 he was at the start of his in-hospital clinical training when he examined a seven-month old baby with an abnormally high fever. He was the only doctor on duty.

Only 1 percent of Nigerians have health insurance. Here’s how to change that

How do we ensure that no Nigerian family suffers the kind of catastrophic health expenditure that risked driving my family into poverty? To be sure, there are major challenges ahead in implementing UHC. But after 12 years of inaction, it is time to recommit to the principle of health for all.

Universal Access to Education is Social Justice

I grew up in poverty, within a disadvantaged community much like the ones where Nigeria’s out-of-school children live. Yet my story is a testament to how education can improve one’s station in life – it very literally lifted me out of poverty. 

Nigeria Interrupts Polio, But The Fight Is Not Over

In recent months several innovative approaches have been used to increase the effectiveness of polio immunisation in the “frontline” states. One of these have been mechanisms to ensure accountability of vaccination activities; e.g. using GPS devices to ensure that the there is greater certainty that vaccinators actually reach communities that they are responsible for reaching.