(Devex) LAGOS and RIVERS STATE, Nigeria — Dr. Bola Oyeledun arrived at Patrick Yakowa Hospital in Kaduna, Nigeria, in 2005, during the peak of Africa’s HIV and AIDS epidemic. Scores of patients awaited her. There were 6,000 people on the waitlist for treatment. An emaciated, HIV-positive baby was rushed to her attention by a distressed head nurse and the mother who, sobbing, begged Oyeledun to save her child. She couldn’t.
Oyeledun had traveled to Nigeria at the behest of ICAP, at Columbia University, which had kicked off operations in the country that year with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The center’s mandate in Nigeria was to deliver initiatives providing quality care while ultimately transitioning responsibility to local organizations.