Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Abia-born Consultant Nephrologist, Dr Chimezie Okwuonu, has been selected for the Emerging Leaders Programme by the International Society of Nephrology.
Only 13 persons from the entire world were selected for the global assignment.
Dr Okwuonu who was the immediate-past Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Abia State, described the selection as “a recognition of possibilities that exist in this part of the globe.”
The ex-NMA boss was very instrumental to the various kidney transplants at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Umuahia.
Okwuonu said “it is a rare opportunity and privilege” he would not toy with but leverage on to further advance solution for kidney-related ailments.
The programme is an initiative of the International Society of Nephrology, to prepare a doctor to play a role in global healthcare, international collaboration and implementation research through many programmes including Harvard University-sponsored leadership programmes and participation in international conferences.
“It also improves capacity for local impact in addressing prevailing health needs of the region,” Dr Okwuonu said.
“Only two persons were selected from Africa, and 13 people all over the world. I’m not taking the opportunity for granted, but will maximise it to give hope to kidney disease patients,” he added.
Dr Okwuonu said the opportunity would further boost the health sector in the state, adding that his team at the FMC aims at ending overseas medical tourism by providing quality and affordable alternative to Nigerian patients.
“This is a big addition to the Abia health system. The training from this programme will impart positively on healthcare in Abia State especially in the area of international collaboration, strengthening health systems and improved kidney care delivery and research. It is indeed an honour for an Abia-born Kidney expert to be so internationally recognised and highlighted.”
Okwuonu has been at the vanguard of advocacy for Government attention to Kidney patients so as to mitigate their plights.