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  Chioma Nwakanma-Akanno is a medical doctor, public health advocate, and campaigner for women’s reproductive health. On social media, she’s known as Dr Zobo; there she shares content and engages the public on pressing healthcare issues.
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As an influencer, she’s aiming to make more Nigerians aware of the dangers of breast and cervical cancer, and the position of modern medicine on infertility—a thorny issue for many families. Chioma also comments on other health matters and encourages her audience to lead healthy lifestyles. She does a lot of her advocacy work through her health communications agency, Medically Speaking. This platform lets her leverage social media and other digital tools to reach a large audience with important content that promotes personal and community health. Chioma is the founder of SMILE with Me Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization that’s working to prevent maternal deaths from various diseases. The organization is particularly focused on enlightening women about breast and cervical cancer, and providing free screening for these diseases.
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According to Chioma, the NGO has helped over 5,000 women with free healthcare education and screened thousands more at no cost to them. It has also engaged more than 10,000 students in schools across Nigeria, sharing crucial healthcare tips with them. As a public health researcher and advocate, Chioma has been involved in campaigns aimed at improving healthcare policy and service delivery. In 2019, she was involved in a campaign called #FundMyHealth2020, which was organized by a coalition of several NGOs. They aimed to get the government to devote 15% of its budget to healthcare. She was also appointed Ambassador for the Pink October Walk in Lagos, a Project Pink initiative designed to improve cancer awareness and encourage locals to get screened. The project was supported by the US Consulate Lagos. An alumnus of the US Government’s Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) West Africa, Chioma has worked with various bodies to spread the word about maternal and child healthcare in Nigeria. She says she’s motivated by her realization that a widespread lack of medical knowledge was causing preventable suffering among many Nigerians. Chioma has been recognized for her work by several organizations. In 2017, she was named Social Innovator of the Year and Online Personality of the Year by the Vision Alive Foundation. And in 2020, she was nominated for the Future Awards Africa Health and Wellness award. Featured Image Source: Leading Ladies Africa
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This article was first published on 12th March 2021


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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