When I was 14 months old, I had polio. When the dust settled, it became obvious that I had a left leg paralysis as a result of the polio. My mother thinks that because I was very sick as a child and I spent a lot of time with hospitals and doctors and rehabilitation centers, I sort of grew somewhat accustomed to wanting to live a life where I treat people or help people with illnesses. or help people with illnesses.
By the age of 15 I already knew that I would be a doctor. By the age of 15 I already knew that I would be a doctor. Not even, no guess work involved there, I was a hundred per cent sure. But my initial thought was that I would go to med school in Nigeria. It would have meant becoming a doctor probably at the age of 22 or 23, and then no specialization, no science, and just being a physician for the rest of my life. So, the real change was of course the opportunity to come here and then that broadened my horizons. My feeling was, if you want to study medicine, you study medicine, you work in a hospital, you help people. If you want to be a scientist, you work in a lab, and play with things, and you make discoveries, and that was an entirely separate career track. So the real eye-opener was being here and then realizing that these two in a sense are completely joined and that the best way to actually do medicine is to be a doctor who investigates. I work in the liver program. So, the liver program is sort of new here at Novartis, So, the liver program is sort of new here at Novartis,
but in the last five years, what we’ve done is actually had a program but in the last five years, what we’ve done is actually had a program that has grown in strength with people and in ideas and in a pipeline with medicines with real potential to treat a variety of liver diseases. The truth is as a liver doctor, if I’m not able to get a liver transplant for any of my patients, they would die ultimately at the end. And I watched year after year as a therapist for a lot of other diseases before majority of my patients, there has been nothing. And now the field moves, and the science suggests that you could be successful in treating some aspects of this liver disease but that’s where that decision comes in. The next step of the journey of helping is being involved in actually producing something that would really help the people who need it most. I think I would have been a good doctor, no doubt about it. I mean, I think I would have, you know, settled somewhere near the village where I grew up, delivered babies, and disposed malaria pills and antibiotics. I think that would have been my life and it would be fulfilling for that place and for that time, but I don’t think I would have contributed as much as I would have the capacity to contribute. I think that’s just the truth of the matter.