Profiles: Adenike Grange-Crusading for the African Child's Health

Article excerpt

SHE HAS FOR THE LAST 33 YEARS championed the health of the African child both as practicing pediatrician and lecturer and now with the added responsibility as a child health rights crusader.

The 62-year-old Nigerian Prof. Adenike 'Nike' Grange, is President-elect and will be the first black woman to be President, of the half a million member strong, Paris based, International Pediatricians Association (IPA). Her impetus to keep going is still there and she says, she "can work for the next 30 or so years.

Wife of a retired orthopedic surgeon, she is mother of three daughters. Two are lawyers and one an engineer. Soft spoken and affable, Prof. Grange says she was driven into her career from childhood, that it is a fulfilling profession and that she has yet to find reasons to regret her choice.

She completed her medical studies at St Andrews University, Scotland, in her birthplace Lagos, Nigeria and in Stanford, US, where she earned her PhD in Child Health. As a consultant pediatrician for many years and Professor of Pediatrics in one of the largest universities in Africa, she has a deep understanding of the technical issues involved in pediatric clinical practice, teaching and research in both the developed and developing countries. She is a former Child Nutrition Advisor to USAID, a Consultant to UNICEF in Child Health and an Advisor to the World Health Organization in Reproductive and Child Health in Nigeria from 1994 to 1997. She is now the Head of Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Lagos.

At a recent IPA meeting Grange described the challenge for African pediatricians:

"Pediatricians must use their strength and comparative advantage to negotiate for improved child health. There is now the realization among African professionals from every field that we have been abdicating and surrendering our responsibilities to the politicians, the majority of whom were not schooled. All they cared for was their acquisition and retention of power. This has got us into a mess and we are determined to see that things do not continue the way they have."

Internationally adopted declarations such as the Survival, Protection and Development of Children and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, (CRC) allow pediatricians to lobby for laws touching on the rights to health for children. …