My Most

My Most Challenging Moments—-Former Minister’s Daughter

My most challenging moments
OpenLife Nigeria, in this chat, presents some of the frustrating moments of Dr. Chichi Menakaya, CEO and founder of Annomo Health, an international premium medical concierge and daughter of former Minister of Health, Dr. Tim Menakaya

Tell us briefly about your career journey?

My medical journey spans different continents; Africa, Europe, and America. I completed my medical school in Nigeria at University College Hospital Ibadan. Ibadan laid a very solid foundation for me. During my extremely interesting journey in the UK, I have had the opportunity to work in different parts of the UK and consolidated my foundation by working with mostly the best doctors in their specialities.
I have been lucky to have been trained clinically to become a Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon but also had the opportunity to explore academic surgery for two years.
Academic surgery was an amazing experience. It opened my eyes to the work needed to achieve milestones and make impact in medicine.
My research work took me to Boston, United States. The beauty of medicine is to always ask new questions, strive for better and collaborate with others to make a positive change.
I am lucky that till date I continue to work in an honorary capacity in Boston to bring about global change. As it stands, we are currently working on a project that will revolutionise trauma care in developing countries.

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What would you say has been the most challenging moment in your career?

I love my job a lot. I love patients and try to bring them healing and succour. I am living my dream but if the dream is too easy to achieve, live and sustain, then there would be no fun in that. The journey has been extremely challenging. I have only worked outside the country and as I am not just a woman but, also “black”, that combination alone means challenges meet you once you step out to do your job. I was faced with the challenge of getting accepted as a doctor in the first place, not just by colleagues but patients too. It can be funny when I see the shock on patients’ faces when I introduce myself as their surgeon. I still get that look till today, decades later.

In my very first job in the UK, I was told by my educational supervisor as a baby doctor that because I was “foreign” that I would never get a job as a surgeon and I should consider a different career path. You can only imagine how that introduces fear and doubts to you as an individual. A person meant to mentor and nurture your medical career tells you, there is no point in dreaming. I believe these have been my biggest challenges; overcoming prejudices and keeping faith in my goals.

Fortunately, I grew up in a home where I was taught that dreams are free and can be achieved if only you put yourself through the mill and focus on the end game. This is my motto to date, I am allowed to fall sometimes but I must get up quickly and try again. So when I face challenges, I soldier on because as I say always, you have to keep dreaming if you want your tombstone to have a story to tell when this life is over. I tell myself that mine will read, “ She came, she dreamt, she fought, she won, and she continues to win even though she is no longer here”. There is no point in living life if you cannot make a difference to others.

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Full interview in OpenLife November edition

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