MANSAG meets in Birmingham


The Medical Association of Nigerian Specialists and General Practitioners in the British Isles recently held its 19th MANSAG Autumn Conference held in Darwin & Wedgwood Suite, Novotel Hotel , Broad Street, Birmingham from 17th -19th October 2008 under the guidance of Mr Ike Nwachukwu, the Chair of the Local Organising Chairman.

Running an organisation like this is never easy…Yet over the years MANSAG has stood tall to the challenges it has faced,holding a scientific conference and meeting every year since 1997….every year!

This year was no different. Nigerian doctors working in the UK came together to deliberate on the theme
“Ethnic Minority Health Issues”. We heard about health issues of particular relevance to us….Fibroid, hypertension, mental health issues….Each session led to vibrant discussions…

….But this was not just about lectures! We sat together for lunch, had the opportunity to network and form new relationships…get to know colleagues that have been in the profession through the good and bad times. One of the defining moments of the re-launching of the MANSAG mentorship programme aiming to offer support and guidance to junior doctors within their area of specialist interest as they develop their career. But the truly great thing is that this is being driven by young Nigerian of whom…Dr Nkem Onyeador was elected as the Welfare and Social Secretary.

A key challenge facing the organisation that protects the interests of Nigerian doctors in the UK is how to attract more Nigerian doctors, especially younger colleagues to join. Why do some of us remain disengaged in an era of “change we can believe in”. The President of MANSAG; Dr Stanley Okolo and his executive deserve our respect for not dropping the ball…and keeping the organisation strong and vibrant against the odds. As they plan for their transition …there was a discussion on the name as a disincentive for younger colleagues and if it could be adapted to be representative of the reality of the day.

But finally the weekend would not be truly Nigerian without a good party to end the day… and good it was. Our colleagues in the West Midlands Zonal Chapter of MANSAG pulled out all the stops to produce an evening that will remain in our memories for a while yet.

At the end of the weekend…one left fulfilled with an experience of high quality science, cameradie of colleagues, and motivation of new mentors…what more can one ask for?

More pictures can be found here…

…..can’t wait for next year

photo credits
Chinyere Onyeaka

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (, which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

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