Nigeria: NGO Founder, Okolo Ikechukwu, on Spotlight for his Advocacy Against Teenage Pregnancy
Okolo Ikechukwu always quoted the notion that people of all ages living healthy lives, is one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He believes “one indicator of this improvement would be a decrease in the rate of teenage births.”
Okolo Ikechukwu is an award-winning health practitioner and a multi-talented educator. Over his years of practice in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, he realised that although the country has accepted UN SDG targets, teenage pregnancy remains yet an explosive issue.
Motivated by the need for change, the Nigerian doctor and humanitarian pledged a lifetime sweat to an advocacy against teenage pregnancy. He set up Milecent Foundation that has enfolded its humanitarian services around “improving the overall well-being of individuals and communities especially in the areas of sex, health and lifestyle.”
Established in 2018, the foundation has organised donations for individuals and communities, conducted free medical outreaches, and campaigned for sex education in schools, communities, radios and talk shows.
He is also the founder & CEO of Milecent Health, a social enterprise tackling challenges facing inaccessibility of medical diagnosis in clinically underserved and deprived communities in Nigeria. The brand is providing standard, mobile and affordable diagnostic services using the power of mobile diagnosis, mobile technology and low cost innovation.
In an exclusive interview with TheAfricanDream.net, he shared important details about his life and works. Transcript below:
Can you please tell us about yourself, education and career?
My full name is Okolo Ikechukwu Innocent, a graduate of Medical Radiology from the University of Maidiguri , PGD in computed tomography. I have gathered over 8 years working experience in my medical field and over 4 years experience as a social worker and Entrepreneur. I have worked in both private and government sectors such as the University of Maidiguri teaching hospital, Maidiguri. Neuro psychiatric hospital, Maidiguri. Lautech teaching hospital, Osogbo, Osun state. Primary Health centre Ita, Elewa, Ikorodu, Lagos State. Citygate health diagnostic, Ogijo, Ogun State. Founded Milecent Foundation and Milecent Health.
What is peculiar about what you do and how do you stand out from others?
Milecent as a brand is a humantarian bridge. We stand out because we use the power of innovation, mobile diagnosis and mobile technology to tackle inaccessibility of standard medical diagnosis in rural communities in Nigeria. We also advocate for teenage pregnancy and promote sex education in Nigeria.
You have been very active in your 4 years of social service, these participations have led to grants and awards, can you tell us about them?
I was Mides Charitable Trust Fund UK grant winner 2021, Nigeria’s Active citizenship award finalist (Health category) 2021, Active citizenship Fellow 2021, Savvy Fellow 2021, Yunus & Youth global Fellow 2021/2022 set, Capital fellowship semifinalist 2020. I have eyes on others, hopefully more international recognitions will follow
What or who is the Inspiration behind what you are doing?
A better Africa and my love for humanity is my inspiration. I am creating solutions to problems around my community, giving my own quota to make Africa a better continent.
What was the hardest moment for you on your journey that almost made you give up?
Two years into the foundation’s establishment was really tough, I had no support to fund our projects and there was negligence from the government. But with God and tenacity I’m pushing through.
What can people expect from you this year and what tips or advice do you have for people that already do or want to do what you’re doing?
People should expect me making more impact especially in our upcoming 10 months campaign on teenage pregnancy tagged “The Story of Sex & You.” The advocacy will cover over 20 schools and we hope to make impact in over 10,000 teenagers this year.
My advice to everyone is to be focused and determined in whatever they are engaged in; our smiling days are coming.
Who are some of the people you have worked with or would love to work with and why them?
I have worked with different magazines and written published articles on health related issues and teenage pregnancy advocacy that have been featured. I also authored a book titled ‘A Thousand Reflection’. I have been invited to radio stations and talk shows to talk about health issues and effect of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria. I would love to work with the great Chimamada Adichie on my upcoming book on teenage pregnancy because of her writing prowess.
How did COVID-19 change things for you and what has it also taught you that has been positive?
COVID-19 changed my perceptive about proscastination. It positively taught me to make impact when necessary and always think ahead of time.
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Source: Arakunrin Lekan | TheAfricanDream.net
Abeeb Lekan Sodiq is a Managing Editor & Writer at theafricandream.net. He is as well a Graphics Designer and also known as Arakunrin Lekan.