5 Questions with Dr. Olatubosun Akinola

Our monthly check-in with staff from around the world. Learn more about the people who work at CHAI.

Picture of Dr. AkinolaPlease tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to CHAI. 

I am a medical doctor with postgraduate training in health systems and services research. I am very passionate about health systems strengthening. I joined CHAI four years ago at a point in my career when I was looking for a new challenge. I was drawn to CHAI because we do a lot of work in health systems and have several well-established programs that support our partner countries’ long-term healthcare goals.

1. What does a typical day at CHAI look like for you?

A typical day involves meetings, responding to emails from CHAI colleagues and requests from donors and our government partners, as well as reviewing reports and providing strategic guidance to the teams I manage. Additionally, it involves brainstorming on strategies to address challenges that emerge during program implementation, as well as exploring new areas of work.

2. What’s the best thing about your job?

I’m based in CHAI’s Zambia office where I have the privilege of working with both brilliant colleagues across the organization and alongside exceptional staff here in the office. There is also almost always something new and different I get to work on a regular basis, so I get to learn a lot as well.

3. When do you feel the most inspired by your work?

When I get to interact or see people who have benefited from a program I was part of designing. It feels great to see something that was once in my head actually improving the lives of people. For example, one of the projects I oversee is working to strengthen accountability and financial management systems for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, adolescent health, and nutrition (RMNCAHN) services. As I was involved in the conceptualization and design of the program, it is very inspiring to receive feedback from health planners about how the program has improved the way they work and ensured transparency in financial management.

4. Who is someone you admire, and why?

I will have to give you two people—my parents. You see, it is easy to admire people you don’t really know but growing up with a front-row seat to their lives has been truly inspiring. They have always been wonderful role models and I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for them.

5. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Moin-moin elemi meje.” It is a popular savory Nigerian food I have loved since I was a child. There are various ways of preparing it, which you can easily find online or on YouTube.

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