Body & Health

#WomanCrushWednesday Dr. Olubunmi Ode – The Woman Taking Care Of Nigeria’s Seriously Sick Infants And Children



What is there not to love about Bunmi Ode?

She is a Pediatric Intensivist – a doctor who takes care of seriously ill infants and children needing high-level care and monitoring in an ICU. This is still a rare profession in Nigeria.

She trained at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and worked in America before returning to Nigeria to help build the kind of health system that Nigeria doesn’t have but deserves.

In her words to HumansOfLagos recently:

“As far as I know, there are no other Pediatric Intensivists in Nigeria. Pediatric Intensivists around the world tend to practice in places with advanced health systems…”

“In the ten years I spent in the US, I always felt homesick. I thought the feeling would go away but it never did. When I was done training in the US and started working as a pediatric intensivist, I didn’t feel fulfilled at my job, it just didn’t feel like I was doing my life’s work. I was always looking for ways to take care of Nigerian children. Moving back home to Nigeria and working here seemed like a solution to both longings.

“A few weeks after I arrived, I got a phone call from a pediatric heart surgeon who also moved back to Nigeria from the US. He told me about a 2 year old boy in Abuja who had undergone open-heart surgery to repair a very complex heart defect. The child remained in ICU for about 10 days, unconscious and on a ventilator and wasn’t getting better; he wondered if I could help. This was my specialty. I was very happy to help. I went out to Abuja and worked with the team to help take care of the child. He got better and is fine now, home with his family. It was very moving for me to be able to provide this sort of care to a child in Nigeria knowing that it’s a very specialized service that is not otherwise available in the country. It gave meaning to my move back home.”

Dr. Bunmi Ode is part of the group of volunteer Nigerian consultants who returned home to help in the “Hospital for Humanity” project series in Garki hospitals. The project aims to save the lives of over 200 children with heart diseases. Bunmi worked in the Intensive Care Unit, where she took care of many children who now have healthy hearts again.

She said:

“It was an awesome experience for me, that all the 11 children we took to surgery survived; this doesn’t happen often, but I’m glad it happened in Nigeria”

We love professionals like Dr. Olubunmi Ode, who does EVERYTHING and then more to make lives better.


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