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Prominent women leaders in West Africa join hands to build resilient healthcare systems

Article-Prominent women leaders in West Africa join hands to build resilient healthcare systems

Medic West Africa Women in healthcare forum
The exclusive Women in Healthcare Forum at Medic West Africa promotes knowledge-sharing, networking and empowerment for industry transformation.

Medic West Africa 2024 concluded on a high note with the Women in Healthcare Forum, presented in partnership with the Women in Healthcare Network (WIHCN). The forum aimed to empower and connect women in the healthcare sector, driving progress and collaboration.

Dr Modupe Elebute-Odunsi, Founder and Chair of Women in Healthcare Network (WIHCN) and CEO of Marcelle Ruth Cancer Centre, opened the event with a powerful address, emphasising the importance of support and mentorship for women in healthcare. She highlighted the incredible achievements of women in the field and unveiled plans for mentorship programmes within WIHCN.

Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, and Toyin Ojora Saraki, Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), acknowledged the vital role of women in healthcare and discussed pressing issues such as maternal mortality rates and healthcare policy initiatives, while indicating the need for greater representation of women in leadership roles to address gender-specific concerns and systemic barriers in the healthcare sector in their goodwill messages.

Dr. Modupe Irele, former ambassador to Hungary in Nigeria, delivered an inspiring keynote, urging attendees to build bridges and break barriers in their careers. Drawing from her experiences transitioning from the banking industry to the education sector and finally to international development, she asserts: "People are resources that have to be nurtured, tendered, and not to be exploited. One thing I have learnt to give value is friendship and strategic networking.”

She further added: “Mix humility with courage so as to be ready for opportunities and do not expect opportunities to come in a particular way.”

Medic West AfricaDr. Modupe Irele

Dr. Modupe Irele

In a panel discussion titled "Resilient Voices: Women Shaping Leadership in Healthcare" moderated by Dr. Kemi Ogunyemi, Special Advisor on Health to the Lagos State Governor, a diverse group of healthcare leaders exchanged insights and tackled pressing issues such as gender equity, access to funding, technology, innovation, and healthcare service accessibility.

Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson, Founder and CEO of Healthtracka, narrated her journey from receiving a modest investment to securing substantial funding, emphasising growth and resilience. She underscored the importance of emotional investment and confidence, noting, "If you build confidence in one thing, you build confidence for the next challenge."

Prof. Folashade Ogunsola, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, elucidated into her work in infection control, highlighting curriculum development, grant securing to combat infectious diseases while investing in people and how it clarified her purpose as a regular academician who turned Vice Chancellor.

Nieros Oyegun-Soerensen, Partner and COO at Verod Capital, pinpointed the significance of maintaining high-quality financial records and professional support to access funding. She spotlighted Verod Capital's equity-based approach, optimising financial arrangements for sustainable growth.

The panel discussion featured insightful contributions from healthcare leaders on gender equity, funding, technology, and innovation in the Nigerian healthcare market.

Clare Omatseye, CEO of JNC International Limited, spoke on her expectations from the Women in Healthcare Network, and stressed the importance of shared values and mentorship. “The first thing all of us need to have is a set of values, a moral compass, and a compass that we want to share with others around us. We need to understand that it is not about mentoring, it's about being mentored and reverse mentoring."

Commenting on anticipated outcomes from the forum, she added: "We need to define what success means to us then together we can move mountains, divided we stand alone."

Overall, the Women in Healthcare Forum provided a platform for networking, knowledge-sharing, and empowerment, reaffirming the commitment of women in healthcare to drive positive change in the industry.

Missed the chance to attend this year? Register for Medic West Africa 2025 for free and gain exclusive access to the region's biggest healthcare industry event. 

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