Funke Falade, MS GHPM'18 (Nigeria)

Funke Falade
Funke Falade, MS GHPM'18 (Nigeria)

“Nigeria’s health system is really broken,” says Funke Falade, an accomplished management consultant from Abuja, Nigeria. “It makes me really sad and frustrated. My country hasn’t taken responsibility for its own development. One of the things I want to be able to do is wake the government up and say, ‘You have to be responsible for this. You have to take responsibility for making sure your system works.’”

“When I was working with KPMG, I did some development sector work, and I noted the inefficiencies in the public sector,” she says. “There was a significant amount of money that was going into development projects around HIV, malaria, TB, but not a lot of impact or sustainability. When the source of funding dried up, everything went back to where it was before.”

After her stint at KPMG, Falade tried public health consulting, supporting the Federal Ministry of Health, thinking she could bring her private-sector skills to the government.

“But I realized the problems and the solutions were not as simple as I thought they were. I needed a background on the health issues and how the health system is structured.”

That’s why she turned to the Heller School, so she could help create systemic change. 

“I didn’t want a master’s in public health—I don’t want to be a public health specialist. I want to be a systems specialist. At Heller, the program is very skills-based, and it’s like a lightbulb has gone off. I think all the time, ‘I wish I knew this back then,’ which would have enhanced the way I managed a project.”

During her time at Heller, Falade aims to strengthen her skills in health systems financing, data utilization and evidence-based policy development. After completing her degree, Falade will return to her husband and two young children waiting for her back in Abuja. She plans to focus on health systems strengthening and reform initiatives in her home country and throughout the sub-Saharan region.