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From ISN Fellow to Emerging Leader: Maximizing Personal Potential Through ISN Granting Programs to Advance Kidney Care in Nigeria

Dr. Onu Ugochi Chika, from the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu State, Nigeria, completed an ISN Fellowship training program in 2017 at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Chandigarh, India, under the mentorship of Prof. Krishan Lal Gupta, alongside support from Prof. Ifeoma Ulasi at her home center.

The training helped her gain expertise in all aspects of kidney care, including clinical, transplantation, pathological, radiological, and interventional nephrology.

On her return to Nigeria, Dr. Onu successfully applied to the ISN Sister Renal Centers Program. The UNTH is now collaborating with the George Institute for Global Health in India, with Prof. Vivekanand Jha as the supporting center liaison officer.

Through this partnership and additional support from the ISN Continuing Medical Education Program, Dr. Onu helped set up an annual hands-on training program, “Interventional Nephrology in Resource-poor Settings.” Thanks to the knowledge and skills she acquired during her fellowship, she trains many nephrologists in southeast Nigeria and beyond through the program, notably in tunneled catheter placements and kidney biopsy.

An ISN Insight article featured the training program’s inaugural edition, and an abstract from the program was published in the March 2020 edition of Kidney International Reports.

Dr. Onu also coordinates a monthly nephropathology webinar series with Prof. Vivek Jha and colleagues from her ISN Fellowship, Prof. Ritambhra Nada and Dr. Raja Ramachandran from the PGIMER.

Keen to establish a sustainable transplant program in UNTH, in 2019, Dr. Onu began an ISN-TTS-STC partnership with the nephrology team at Groote Schuur Hospital Cape Town under supervision from Prof. Elmi Muller. The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily halted transplant plans, but the collaboration has now re-started.

Dr. Onu completed the ISN-ANIO Clinical Nephropathology Certificate Program in 2018. She became a fellow of the West African College of Physicians in October 2019 and was awarded an ISN WCN travel grant in 2020. She has co-chaired the Nigerian young nephrologists committee and is a member of the AFRAN young nephrologists committee. She coordinated World Kidney Day celebrations for southeastern Nigeria. Dr. Onu has presented talks at several national and international nephrology conferences and is currently a member of the second cohort of the ISN Emerging Leaders Program.

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