Thought Leadership

Business, just not as usual in Cross River State

What a difference it would make if all the large companies that do business in Nigeria begin to invest in the country’s growth….and not just in some token sponsorship of a sports event but invest in the education systems, in the innovation that will drive our growth. What a difference it would make.

Segun Olude a reader of the blog sent in this example. 
IBM has a programme as part of its Corporate Service Corps (CSC) initiative where its staff members take month-long service assignments to one of 13 countries. One of these is called Project HOPE in which IBM staff helped to implement technology that would enable Nigerians to get access to free healthcare no matter which remote clinic they visit. The clinics each have servers, networked in a cloud computing environment, with fingerprint reader cards to ensure that the medical records for each of the mothers and children is accurate and complete, giving medical practitioners better information.
One IBM staffer – Mat Osicki and her project colleague Georgia Watson travelled all over the Cross River State to assess the needs of the project and to develop recommendations to build out the system. The real work required establishing local data entry operators and training them so they could build a database of vital health information for the state’s population. CSC projects are generally designed to be completed in 30 days or turned over to the local community to finish implementation.

When the governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, and his cabinet were presented with the results of the IBM team’s work on its projects, he was so impressed he said, “We just have to get IBM back in here to finish this work.”

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

By Chikwe Ihekweazu

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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