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Dr. Okechukwu Ogah

 
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osogah's picture
Dr. Okechukwu Ogah

Hello, am Dr. Okechukwu Ogah, Consultant Physician/Cardiologist (Special Grade) at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. I recently served as the Commissioner/ Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Health, Abia State (August 2010- May 2015).

For my full profile, visit HERE

You are welcome to ask me any question by posting it in the comment section below. I will do my best to answer your questions on Wednesday, 6th April, 2016 at 2pm.

niyiosams's picture

Dear Dr Ogah, let me first thank you for taking time out to be on our "Meet The Guru" interview.

1. What would you say was your greatest challenge and achievement while serving as Commissioner of Health in Abia State?

2. How was the transition from being the Commissioner of Health in Abia State back to your current position at University College Hospital, Ibadan like?

3. How can we reduce medical tourism?

4. You have studied, trained or worked in South Africa, Germany and the United Kingdom. Where do you see the practice of Cardiology in Nigeria today?

5. There has been an increase in the incidence of non-communicable diseases including Hypertension in Nigeria. What is the Nigerian Cardiac Society- where you are a former Secretary General- doing about this?

6. What is your advice to young doctors who want to study Cardiology or train as a Cardiologist?

osogah's picture

1. What would you say was your greatest challenge and achievement while serving as Commissioner of Health in Abia State?

Response:

My greatest challenge probably may be fear of failure in the midst of weak and dilapidated infrastructure, weak health  system and poorly motivated workforce, inadequate human resources and above all lack of patriotism. Those who execute government business called contractors (or conspirators) - who execute bad work made feel bad all the time

My greatest achievement is the show of evidence that things can be done properly and decently in a selfish and corrupt Nigerian system. We were able to lay a good foundation for the primary health care system of the state and repair some other critical health infrastructure. there were areas we were failed by conspirators(contractors or cronies of power that be)

 

2. How was the transition from being the Commissioner of Health in Abia State back to your current position at University College Hospital, Ibadan like?

No stress at all. Since I did hang my stethoscope as a commissioner. I ran clinics, read ECGs and performed ECHos during the time I was away.

 

3. How can we reduce medical tourism?

Response: There is need to change in most areas of our national life: physical and social infrastructure. Our health care can not develop above our technological or socio-economic development . Funding in healthcare has to improve.

We also need to train well to give what we have. Corruption and poor attitude MUST die for this to happen.

 

4. You have studied, trained or worked in South Africa, Germany and the United Kingdom. Where do you see the practice of Cardiology in Nigeria today?

Response: We are not yet there but there is enough room for improvement. The critical mass of young people going into the field in Nigeria is an advantage compared to other sub-saharan African countries. At the stage of epidemiological transition we need some critical (but not necessarily all hightech tools) that must be put in place to solve most of the heart diseases in the country. 95%  of heart diseases are due to hypertension, cardiomyopathies and rheumatic heart disease.

Regional referral centres with possibilities of interventional procedures  and cardiac surgery is needed and this is possible if we plan well. The regional centres will support the peripheral hospitals.

Those (Nigerians abroad) whom God has helped to train well abroad could be kind enough to pass their skill to those at home who did not have the opportunity. This is how India was able to make it.

 

5. There has been an increase in the incidence of non-communicable diseases including Hypertension in Nigeria. What is the Nigerian Cardiac Society- where you are a former Secretary General- doing about this?

Response: As the then head of Ministry of health (same time as I served as secretary of Nigeria Cardiac society), i initiated a lot of preventive programmes in Abia state- created NCD unit in the MOH as well as the PHC development agency. We conducted a state-wide NCD baseline survey which is serving as data for policy. The data has been widely published for reference.

We also provided basic tools for evaluation of patients with NCDs which were not there before.

In terms of patient evaluation/care (beyond prevention which i believe is critical), government was able to provide minimum tools for good care (Diagnostic centres, Cardiac evaluation unit, dialysis centre, state of the art eye centre) 

 

6. What is your advice to young doctors who want to study Cardiology or train as a Cardiologist? 

Response: The young doctor must have the flair, vision and passion for the field. You must train hard at home (if you are training at home) and add some years of experience abroad.

drlindaok's picture

Good day sir,

1. What is your greatest challenge as a cardiologist working in Nigeria?

2. What should a young aspiring Cardiologist do to overcome such challenges?

osogah's picture

1. What is your greatest challenge as a cardiologist working in Nigeria?

Response: Weak health system. Expensive procedures which most patients cannot afford.

 

2. What should a young aspiring Cardiologist do to overcome such challenges?

Response: Must have hope

jikhidero's picture

Mine is not a question, but a commendation. The beautiful transition you made from Commissioner (Government) back to Academia and Service, ought to be recommended for everyone in Public Service, whether appointed or elected. This is not so visible in Nigeria. The experiences are different and need to be acquired to improve on service delivery in Nigeria. If the majority follows your example, Nigeria will be a better place.

osogah's picture

Thanks for the compliments and God bless you my brother and colleague.

otubogun_folajimi's picture

I am proud to have both known and worked with Dr Ogah while I was an intern and he, my consultant and head of department.

I will like to know how you are able to balance clinical practice, academia and the many tasks demanding the attention of doctors?

osogah's picture

Understanding ones calling and remaining focused. Tenacity of purpose. Thanks for the compliments

 

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