Remembering Dr Ijeoma Ejekam Idaresit6 October 2021 London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine https://lshtm.ac.uk/themes/custom/lshtm/images/lshtm-logo-black.png
Dr Ijeoma Ejekam Idaresit’s childhood dream was to become a doctor. She was inspired by her maternal grandfather, the late Professor O.K.Ogan, who was the first Nigerian to qualify as an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. Growing up, she excelled in academics, finishing secondary school as the best graduating student in her class of 2000. She proceeded to study Medicine and Surgery at the prestigious University of Nigeria and received the MBBS degree in 2008.
She started out practising as a primary care physician and was concerned by the extent to which negative patient outcomes and low availability of community health services were determined by an interplay of social issues, economic conditions, the unique Nigerian environment, and of course, government policies. In her experience, these too often overrode the passion and dedication of healthcare workers, especially doctors like herself.
This was a challenge she was determined to help solve, so she decided to get an International Masters’ degree in Public Health from an institution that would give her the relevant skills and knowledge based on current best practices. She chose LSHTM because it is a globally respected and highly ranked institution with a rich history of excellence in public health education. Dr Ijeoma was awarded the Masters in Public Health degree in March 2016.
Dr Ijeoma developed an interest in maternal health and started Edie & Amy in 2017, an organisation that currently reaches over 10,000 mothers monthly through a website and other social media platforms, helping them through hurdles in breastfeeding and postpartum care. Also concerned about the dearth of maternal mental health support systems, she joined the Postpartum Support Network (PSN) Africa and subsequently held the position of Conference Director, responsible for monitoring and evaluating all activities and organising annual conferences. PSN Africa has educated up to 16,000 people, screened about 8,000 mothers, and provided free treatment for over 500 women suffering from postpartum depression and other mood disorders.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, she coordinated the team’s response, personally providing support for at least 46 women in six different online groups called the ‘Warrior Mom Villages’.
Written by Dr Njideka Sanya, Executive Director of The Edie and Amy Company.
The Dr Ijeoma Ejekam Idaresit Fund has been set up to commemorate her and to provide support to students of West African origin studying the MSc Public Health (both intensive and distance learning courses), particularly those with an interest in maternal health and mental health. This will provide support to students in their studies, which could include grants to undertake research or travel in aid of research projects.