By CHIOMA ANIEGBOKA
Mrs. Bisi Bright is a Social Entrepreneur in the Health Sector; a qualified Consultant Clinical Pharmacist and Public Health Practitioner, adding value to the ‘social space’ through the nonprofit organisation, LiveWell Initiative (LWI), a health empowerment organisation which has outreached over 1 million Nigerians and at least 3,000 Ghanians with free health over the past 3 years.
In living her dreams as a health facilitator, she has partnered with different organisations and resource persons to bring about a healthy society. Mrs. Bright, a member of American Pharmacists Association between 2004 and 2011 and former Secretary General of West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists, is currently the First Vice Chairman of LiveWell Initiative.
The mother of four, as well as a grandmother, believes that young people need to be properly mentored to guide them on the path of life’ success. In a recent chat with Vista Woman, discusses her life and work. Excerpts:
I hail from Ilesha in Osun State but was born in Zaria. I had my primary school education there, and my secondary school education at Queens College, Ibadan. My first degree was at the University of Ife, Ile-Ife. My dad, a Marine Engineer,was transferred to Lagos. Later on, I went to the University of Zimbabwe, Harare and West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) where I became a Fellow.
I’m immediate past Secretary General of the College. I met my husband, Tayo Bright, after leaving school. We got married 34years ago in on the 16th of September, 1978. He is a Lagosian and I must thank God that my family has been doing well. I learned the way of God from my parents and in school as well. So, I must thank my parents very well because they have always been there for me all through, making life easier for me; more especially my mum.
Career as a Consultant Clinical Pharmacist
I chose to read this because of my desire to add value to the health of the public. Later on, I went to read Public Pharmacists Medicine. I then worked for government pharmaceutical. There, I was able to achieve my goals of adding value to public health.
I later left to found LiveWell. That is what I run now in order to help the poor and put a stop to/ reduce illness like MEP, malaria, etc. This poverty ratio is very high in the country. As such, we run an academy on youth empowerment as well as other health education programmes like, drug abuse enlightenment scheme, nutritional consulting, and training in first aid, among others.
Last year, the organisation introduced some new products including Diabetes in line with Michelle Obama’s ‘let’s move’ project which links diabetes with obesity and encourages children (and adults) to eat well. An offshoot of this project is the unique LWI nutrient and wellness training programme which is taught with a pragmatic, hands-on approach, to students and their teachers.
And the product this year include the patient home visits, introduced in January this year, with a visiting team made up of a nursing officer, a health officer and a logistics staff. This service is very useful for ensuring regular basic health checkups for people who are in need or are too far from medical facilities. This project has escalated into a new product, the LWI easyhealth.
How do you combine your job and running the family?
Well, is not difficult running my home and my work because is like juggling. Juggling is the life of a married woman. You plan yourself ahead; for your job, and your duties in the home; and try to take good care of your children and your husband as you’re meant to.
More especially, make sure your husband is well taken care of because he is the head of the family, and you will have to learn how to refer to your husband and every member of his family, and others as well. So, you balance love and attention to all.
Meanwhile, you strike a balance in outfits you wear to work and those you wear in the house, in order to retain your respect and dignity. Formal ones are for work, and informal ones for the house. Likewise, we should learn how to schedule our time for office and our home. Above all, it is by God’s grace that all goes well as planned.
Raising the children
Well, because children are gift from God, you must have principles in order to be able to be disciplined and give them good training and good moral upbringing. Bringing them up is a labour of love and joy, and you can bring them up by teaching them the ways of the Lord because when you teach them the way of God, they will grow up in that way. We shouldn’t train our children with material thing.
What I mean is that, it is not everything a child demands or wants that you give him/her. Teach them good morals which will enable them to cope in the society today, and become responsible citizens in future. Still, allow them to take the initiative in some things so that you can help correct their faults when they go wrong.
Are you satisfied with your job?
Yes, I’m extremely satisfied with my job because if you are doing a job that is rewarding, you will be more than satisfied. So, we are adding a newer value to the public. We run this programme from January to August for free. But as from now on, we shall be obliged to charge a little token because it is very taxing and demanding financially as well, but I am very happy because this organisation is moving to a higher level.
However this organization (LiveWell Initiative) was 5 years old on 20th September 2012. We liaise with Stanbic IBTC mobile money to run the program on easyhealth and the program will promote aged mother. Also, are you a lonely sick relative, need a monthly or quarterly basic health checkup? Are you a giver? Do you want to help someone somewhere and finally to enjoy a basic health checkup? Then partner with us.
What advice do you have for the youth of this century?
The problem we are having today in the society is that many of our young people want to become rich over night without hard labour and I don’t blame them. It is because of what they see their elders doing, that is the get rich quick syndrome due to what they watch on the television, seeing those ritualists and those politicians that become rich over night.
So, they think making money to be rich is easier. I don’t blame them at all. My first advice will go to my own generation , the older ones. We need to re-address the situation of this country, ourselves and integrity. We need to understand our integrity and pass it on to the youth to enable them know the way forward and, for them to understand that they are the future leaders of this country. I advise that they should be very hard working in life because it pays well. And mind you, what you did not work hard to earn can appear and disappear at any time.
Young people should hook themselves up in the schools or companies and organisations etc. And we need to catch them young. Every youth should try and have a very good mentor that can teach and direct him/her in the right path because if you have a good mentor, there is no how you cannot be a good future leader, whether in your home town or in the society. Every youth should try and get a good mentor.