…As LWI boss, Bisi Bright gets chieftaincy title
It was a moment of glitz and blitz during the 2022 Extraordinary Women Advancing Healthcare Awards tagged “EWAHAFRO2022” when 10 outstanding Nigerian women were honoured in spectacular ways, in line with their numerous attainments and contributions to healthcare and other spheres of life.
At the glamorous event, held at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, many great personalities from all walks of life, including the Commissioner for Education, Lagos State, Mrs Sade Adefisayo; Prof. Cyril Usifoh, president, PSN; Mrs Bimbo Okoya; Dr Ronke Sodeinde, president, MWAN; Mr Yinka Subair, chief executive officer, Pfizer, among others gathered in a relaxed atmosphere of celebration.
Speaking at the event, Pharm. (Mrs) Bisi Bright, the CEO of LiveWell Initiative and Regional Representative for EWAH Awards Africa, said the main purpose of the Awards was to create national and international recognitions for emerging, dynamic healthcare leaders who are women, adding that the purpose was to celebrate and appreciate the power of women to change the world.
According to Bright, the event which is the first of its kind in Nigeria and indeed, Africa was done to recognise the sterling performance of women in Africa and Nigeria, who are advancing healthcare, as the event aims to give visibility to the work of these leaders.
to help them continue to build invaluable cross-sector networks and partnerships and to encourage them to achieve even further impact and innovation and to inspire others in the healthcare system.
She added, “We have come to celebrate women who defied all odds to contribute to the advancement of healthcare in Nigeria. Although the healthcare system has more women than men working in it, the top roles and recognitions are dominated by men. EWAH aims to help bring greater parity in such leadership, so through EWAH Awards, we want to get more women to the top across all sections of healthcare, and to help them build important cross-sector networks that will be even more impactful in the future.”
Also speaking, Pharm. (Mrs) Clare Omatseye, chairperson, of EWAH’s Advisory Board, and CEO of JNCI Limited, stated that the story of the 10 amazing awardees would be an inspiration for other women out there, adding that #EWAHAFRO2022 is the Premier award across Africa to recognise and bring awareness at a broader level to 10 amazing emerging women healthcare leaders.
In his speech, the Past President of the British Business Group, Sir Stanley Evans MBE stated that the EWAH Awards differ from most conventional awards, as the awardees do not necessarily need to be healthcare professionals themselves, adding it was for 10 women who were impactful, across diverse sections of healthcare, from public health and policy to community health education and leadership, and from academia and research through healthcare industry manufacturing and distribution.
He stated, “For example, we have among the winners a low literacy community health leader, two university vice-chancellors, a low-income healthcare worker from Northern Nigeria, a Nigerian CEO of a multinational pharmaceutical corporation, and a First Lady who is a paediatrician with interest in oncology.”
In her speech, which was done virtually, the EWAH Africa Matron of Honour and Chair of the EWAH Steering Committee in the USA, Barri Blauvelt, said she was pleased that the first EWAH event outside of the USA which was done in collaboration with LiveWell Initiative in Nigeria was a huge success.
A total of 10 women healthcare leaders were honoured at the event, and they were: Chief (Mrs) Grace Ebun Delano, a seasoned administrator, nurse, and reproductive health advocate, who co-founded the leading NGO in Nigeria, the Association of Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), in Ibadan; Dr Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, the first lady of Kebbi State, a philanthropist and paediatrician, who currently sits on the Board of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC); Prof. Elisabeta Smaranda Olarinde, a professor of law and the Vice-Chancellor of the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, who is a founding member of the first Nigerian Interdisciplinary Research Network on Social Sciences and Reproductive Health (SSRHN).
The first female and 13th Vice-Chancellor of the 60-year-old University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Folasade Ogunsola, a professor of clinical microbiology, who has contributed significantly to raising awareness of infection control in Nigeria; Mrs Nkechi Ukaiwe, chief executive officer, Janssen, Johnson and Johnson, who is the first lady to hold the number one position at the multinational conglomerate Johnson & Johnson and its Pharmaceutical Division, Janssen; Cima Sholotan, empathic, purpose-driven sustainability professional with over 15 years of experience in Sub-Saharan Africa, who has also worked with business leaders in the banking, financial regulatory, and telecommunication industries.
Other awardees are Dr Adaeze Oreh, a consultant family physician, senior health policy advisor and director at Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Nigeria, who has almost 20 years cognate experience in the vast field of medicines and public health; Pharm. Folasade Lawal, a community pharmacist with over 35 years of experience, passionate about the provision of cutting-edge pharmaceutical and preventive care services.
Also, Chief (Mrs) Christiana Adeyemi, the first Iyalode of Sogunro Community, Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront, a low-income community in Lagos State, where she has impacted lives through services to the community and got certified along with members of the community as Women in Hepatitis Africa Champion; Mrs Ajiya Agwom Agyer, a diligent, focused community health worker with the ability to develop strong connection within a targeted population to maximize outreach and services, who has also developed an STD outreach programme in her Local Government Area, Barkin Ladi LGA, Plateau State.
Speaking on behalf of others, one of the awardees and a newly appointed country manager for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, Nkechi Ukaiwe, while revealing how she rose from grass to grace in her chosen life career, admonished young women to be focused and determined, adding that the awardees are not in any way extra-ordinary, but chose to be outstanding in their chosen career.
The high point of the event was the conferment of the traditional title of ‘Yeye Mayegun’ of Iwaya/ Makoko Waterfront, on Pharm. Bright, the convener of the event, by the Baale of Sogunro Iwaya Kingdom, Chief Yusuf Sagra Kumayon.