By Ebele Orakpo
Dr Eleanor Nwadinobi is the president of the Medical Women’s International Association. Interestingly, in the association’s 100-year history, this is the first time a Nigerian is elected its president. In this interview with Vanguard, Nwadinobi who has championed the cause of widows and children over the years, speaks on her journey to becoming the president of the foremost medical women’s association and why nations, especially Nigeria, should look inwards for a solution to the Covid-19 pandemic. Excerpts:
Briefly tell us how you became the first Nigerian President of the International Medical Women’s Association. How has the journey been so far?
I became the first Nigerian to ascend to the position of International President of the Medical Women International Association, MWIA, by the grace of God. On my part, I was propelled by prayer, passion, perseverance and persistence. I rose through the ranks over a 38-year period. I became a member of the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, MWAN, which is our national branch as soon as I graduated in 1982.
By 1995, I became the Enugu State president. In 2005, I became the national president of MWAN. At the international level, I served on all the committees and rose to become, first of all, the Co-Chair of the Finance Committee and then became the Chair of the Finance Committee. I went through a rigorous selection process for the position of president-elect in 2016. I did not win the election; however, I won the hearts of the international members. In 2019, I was unopposed for the position of international president-elect.
With Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the entire world, with no end in sight, do you think African nations should look inwards for solutions to the pandemic as Madagascar has done, seeing there is no vaccine yet?
Every challenging situation challenges us to come up with a solution. Every nation in the world has its peculiarities, cultural nuances, belief systems and way of life. Therefore Nigeria, like other nations in the world, can take the lead in finding their own home inspired, homegrown fit-for-purpose, moulded to our specification solutions. While recognising that there are international best practices and principles such as human rights and ‘Do No Harm’, we are encouraged by the fact that we can contribute our own quota whilst respecting these principles.
When we look back into our history, our ancestors had local remedies. It is time for us with the aid of modern science and technology to better record our successes and best practices, some of them may be locally appropriate and yet, globally adaptable and applicable. When you think about it, Nigeria, in particular, is blessed with natural herbs and plants. Quite a lot of them constitute the key ingredient in some of the medications we have in pharmacies today. We must go back to the drawing board and document and keep a record of producers of the preparations for preservation. Our scientists are counted among the best in the world and we also look to them to come up with solutions.
I was trying to read recently of a new breakthrough in Nigeria. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, validated the first phase of the viral Ribonucleic Acid, RNA, extraction. This is the first step towards Nigeria locally producing test kits for coronavirus. We should all throw our weight behind initiatives of this nature as it is for our collective good.
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