My choice of career was not dictated by familial expectations, as many would assume. Though I was born into a family of esteemed doctors, the conventional path to medicine was not predestined for me. In my formative years, I harboured dreams of becoming a pilot, musician, actor and mechanical engineer—essentially, a fusion of all my passions. However, destiny had other plans. At the age of 12, a pivotal moment occurred when I fell ill. The impact of a compassionate woman dressed in white, administering relief through a bag of fluids connected to my veins left an indelible mark on me. Witnessing the alleviation of pain sparked a realisation— becoming a doctor was the conduit to embody all my aspirations. My dream was not merely a pursuit of titles; it was a calling to alleviate suffering, lend a compassionate ear, and offer solace in challenging moments.
The genesis was a response to the profound challenges faced by friends and family navigating medical needs. The paramount concern was identifying the best-suited doctor for individual needs.
In 2013, I established company in the United Kingdom. However, a pivotal moment was in 2016, when my mother faced a sudden and fatal health crisis. Constrained by the limits of the UK, I recognised the imperative to extend our reach to encompass hospitals in the United States of America, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland. The expansion was not merely geographical; it marked the evolution from a clinician-finding service to a world-class, bespoke healthcare concierge. The realisation that true healing involves addressing various aspects of a patient’s life prompted us to offer a holistic package, including accommodation, transport and food services. The company has metamorphosed into a comprehensive and multidisciplinary healthcare concierge, providing tailored, global healthcare solutions that transcend traditional boundaries.
I wear different hats due to the dynamic nature of my responsibilities. In our nascent stages, with just one partner and no staff, I took on every responsibility—from answering calls and responding to emails. However, with a robust team in place now, my role has transitioned into a purely managerial capacity, stretching from strategic meetings with potential partners to visits to existing partners to guarantee the maintenance of our high standards. This is in addition to managing a select group of high net-worth individuals, who have been our clients since inception.
Navigating my career abroad as a woman of colour has been marked by persistent challenges. The initial struggle to be accepted as a doctor, both by colleagues and patients, remains a recurring challenge. Even decades later, I encounter surprises from patients when introducing myself as their surgeon. From the moment I step into a room, I face stereotypes and biased assumptions. The notion that physical strength is a prerequisite for surgical prowess adds another layer of misconception. Despite these hurdles, I find immense fulfillment in my job, working tirelessly to bring healing to patients.
Discouragement and bias served as my catalysts for strength. Faced with doubters due to my gender and colour at crucial junctures, I embraced them as fuel for my determination. Inspired by my mother’s wisdom and guidance, I found inner strength, intensified my focus on my dreams, and worked tirelessly. Growing up, I learnt that challenges are allowed, but confronting them promptly and persevering is mandatory. In the face of adversity, I press on, with the belief that my tombstone should narrate a story of resilience and triumph.
Life gains meaning when one makes a difference for others.
The true essence of my career lies in the profound moments of witnessing a patient, once crippled by pain or deformity, smiling after an intervention— a heartfelt testament that transcends accolades and reinforces the transformative power of healing. Beyond those deeply rewarding interactions with patients, a pinnacle experience was my nomination for the ‘Best of the Best’ award by the British Orthopaedic Association in 2022. This was after I had won the prestigious WJ Little Prize for Trauma and Orthopaedics at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. The preceding year, I had the honour of being named the UK Trauma and Orthopaedic Women Trailblazer for the International Women’s Day. These recognitions are not just personal triumphs; they symbolise the collective impact of dedicated healthcare, echoing the belief that every positive intervention contributes to a brighter and healthier world.
The catalyst for this commitment was a tragic event I experienced at the tender age of 10, when we lost a family friend due to domestic violence. This firsthand experience left an indelible mark on my soul, igniting a fervent desire to see an end to such grievous crimes. Over the years, as I encountered different survivors and heard their stories, my determination to make a difference intensified. Domestic violence is a problem that has reoccurred over the years with no permanent solution.
A comprehensive strategy is vital, including strengthening legal frameworks to ensure accountability; nationwide educational programmes to raise awareness and empower victims; community-based support networks; and increased access to shelters to offer crucial assistance.
Also, economic empowerment through skill development and job training is essential for breaking the cycle of abuse. Engaging men and boys in discussions about gender equality and fostering positive masculinity will contribute to a cultural shift. This combined approach aligns with creating a society where domestic violence is actively prevented and condemned.
Personalised healthcare is not a luxury reserved for the elite; it is a fundamental right ensuring that every individual, regardless of socioeconomic status, receives tailored and optimal care based on their unique health needs.
In Nigeria, unleashing the power of personalised healthcare requires a strategic revolution. By collaborating with existing healthcare infrastructure and integrating personalised healthcare services into the broader system, we break down barriers and extend the benefits to a wider population. Partnerships with public hospitals and clinics can democratise access to these advanced medical services, making them a reality for all. The time has come to shatter the notion that personalised healthcare is a privilege. It is actually a necessity that should be accessible to all, revolutionising the health landscape for a brighter and healthier future.
Okwuí Mask Scheme, now under Annomo Foundation, is a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting survivors of domestic violence, with a focus on rebuilding their lives.
On the creative front, Okwuís_Frocentric is a fashion line, which transcends clothing to creating empowering pieces that exude confidence and strength. Profits generated from this venture are channeled into building new businesses, supporting local artisans, establishing shops for women, and providing training for women. These initiatives are not just endeavors; they are a commitment to making a lasting impact on lives, fostering resilience, and creating opportunities for those who need it the most.
My life is centered around one passion – people. Beyond my professional commitments, I ensure to carve out time for personal pursuits and activities that bring me joy and fulfillment. This balance allows me to thrive in both aspects of my life without compromising either.