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Dr Oluwafunmilola (Lola, for short) Dare is a trained epidemiologist, who has practiced as a community physician and social development consultant for 30 years. She currently presides over Centre for Health Sciences Training, Research and Development (CHESTRAD) Nigeria, a global, non-state and not-for-profit organization she founded in 1993. Dr Lola had her secondary education at Holy Child College, Ikoyi, Lagos between 1973 and 1978, then obtained an A level certificate from Methodist Girl’s High School, Yaba, Lagos in 1980. She proceeded to the College of Medicine, Ibadan where she bagged an MBBS degree in June 1985.  She pursued a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Epidemiology with Statistics from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, in 1991 and in 1992 was awarded a Fellow of the Community Health and Preventive Medicine Department, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State. In addition, she has received other award certificates which includes Fellow of David E Bell Fellowship Certificate for Population and Development and Takemi Fellowship Certificate for International Public Health both of Harvard School of Public Health in 1994 and 2000 respectively. Growing up, Dr Lola had wanted to be a Psychiatrist. However, her passion was diverted to paediatrics when she discovered that she could not bear the sight of people dying. After her son died of neonatal tetanus because the hospital ran out of oxygen and another woman lost her baby to neonatal jaundice after dealing with infertility for many years, Dr Lola decided she was done with medicine. It was the hospital’s medical director that persuaded Dr Lola to dive into public health and see how she can affect and/or change the pervading issues. She gave it a thought and it gave birth to CHESTRAD. Dr Lola Dare founded CHESTRAD Nigeria,in 1992, to enhance the situation/well-being of women and young persons, poor resource settings, and to strengthen the delivery of health care and empowerment support to these groups of people. Owning to her daughter, Oreoluwa’s, death (who died from malaria) in 2005, she enrolled for a three-month course in Advanced Management at INSEAD, School of Business in France. Here, she constructed a sociogram and map of stakeholders on immunization in Nigeria. She also examined the management of human resources and the development of finance-linked Key Performance Indicators (KPI). In essence, her experience at INSEAD opened her to the application of business processes to health and health-related problems. Although her initial objective for establishing CHESTRAD was to focus on the reproductive health of young people, Dr Lola got a new drive and had to construct a new model for her organization after her study at INSEAD. CHESTRAD became a social enterprise that now supports African governments to build sustainable healthcare systems. Little wonder it is a tax-exempt organization. She has since steered the reins of her not-for-profit organization, growing it into a global organization also registered in the United Kingdom and the United States of America as a charity. She has, through her organization, provided health and poverty development programmes at all levels of the health care system and facilitated leadership and management programs. The goal-getting Dr Dare has been able to move CHESTRAD from a national view to a global agency that hosts global initiatives including the African Council for Sustainable Health Development (ACOSHED) – of which she is the Executive Secretary – and Global Health South (GHS). References Mostly culled from Dr Lola Dare’s LinkedIn profile  

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This article was first published on 25th June 2018

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