Women in Business: Eleanor Nwadinobi
President-elect, Medical Women International Association (MWIA)
MWIA is an organisation representing women doctors in six continents with different cultural backgrounds, medical traditions and challenges.
MWIA provides its members with the opportunity to exchange ideas medically and personally, and to exchange interests and experiences with colleagues from other nations. They have found that though they have different languages, customs, ideologies, and racial backgrounds, working together with mutual respect, they can contribute to humanity. They are motivated by the same hope, that all the world’s people will become physically and mentally healthier and consequently better world citizens.
Dr Eleanor Nwadinobi was recently named the President-elect of Medical Women International Association (MWIA) in the United States.
Eleanor Nwadinobi, is an independent gender, health, women’s rights, and women, peace, and security consultant. She has worked on a wide range of issues including child trafficking, girls’ education, peace building, and violence prevention with the African Union, ECOWAS, UNICEF, the World Bank and others. Eleanor oversaw the women, peace and security networks that conducted advocacy on the Nigerian National Action plan, including special initiatives around widows and persons with disabilities in conflict-prone environments.
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The network actively advocated for the release of the 200 Chibok girls abducted by insurgents. More recently, Eleanor facilitated support for passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition act in Nigeria. Eleanor has presented numerous papers on women’s rights and security, most recently “Achieving Economic Empowerment and the Women Peace and Security Agenda” at the 2018 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women conference. Eleanor is president of Widows Development Organisation.
Eleanor created the Widow’s organisation being inspired by the need to address the violations and dehumanisation that widows are subjected to. “The founders were four women, two who had suffered harmful traditional practices as widows and two of us who felt sufficiently burdened by what we had seen widows go through. We wanted people to know that widowhood is not a taboo.” She said.
In every profession there are challenges but Eleanor recalls her major challenging period during her time as an anaesthetic registrar in the UK. “The practice of anaesthesia was such that one covered theatre duties, emergency duties, such as resuscitating patients in the accident and emergency unit, and providing services for women in labour, such as epidural pain relief. It was also my duty as the Anaesthetic registrar to provide emergency services on the air ambulance.I worked with hospitals under the South East Kent Health Authority, including Dover, Folkestone and Ashford.”
Another major challenge was when she returned to Nigeria to run a private practice, The Tabitha Infirmary in Enugu, with her colleague. “The practice closed down due to increasing demands on me to provide services as international health and gender expert. All in all, it was a very exciting time but also challenging to cover the vast range of duties that the job required” Nwadinobi stated.
Eleanor completed her medical school programme and university degree, her house jobs and National Youth Service Corps programme at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital. Since she was married, she was allowed to stay in the same location as her husband in Enugu. She continued at the teaching hospital as a senior house officer. It was however, her dream to pursue her specialist training in the UK. she had a very dedicated mentor, Prof Ezi Ashi, who introduced her to his peers in the UK and like they say, the rest is history.
Nwadinobi believes in the resilient attitude of Nigerians. According to her, “Nigerians are creative, with an entrepreneurial spirit but it doesn’t mean that because we are resilient, we should continue to be knocked. There is a limit to which you knock something that it will react; but despite everything, we are still suffering and smiling.” Said Eleanor.
Nigeria boasts of several resources but according to her, the decision to make it a better place collectively rests in our hands.