In India, where tuberculosis affects 2.3 million people every year, diagnosis and treatment depends on accessible and affordable testing. The challenge of providing better TB testing to more people is what took Collins Oghor, MDCM/MBA’18, from the comforts of McGill to India last summer. His experience not only influenced the future of a nation-wide testing program, but also gave him insight into his own future.
With his background in medicine and management, Collins worked on a quality assessment pilot program to review the consistency and accuracy of tuberculosis tests conducted by labs affiliated with IPAQT, an alliance of private laboratories offering tests at affordable prices, and supported by industry and non-profit groups.
IPAQT (Initiative for Promoting Affordable & Quality TB Tests) was founded by McGill professor Dr. Madhukar Pai with support from the Clinton Health Access Initiative. IPAQT subsidizes the cost of TB testing done by private labs; in return, the labs must set a price ceiling for tests, report every identified TB case, and undergo the quality assessment process that Oghor evaluated.
By going to India, Collins gave up the chance to earn money over the summer – which could have helped defray his tuition fees – but an Osler Medical Aid Foundation award, which supports medical students going on service-learning or clinical electives in underserved communities, covered his flight costs. The experience also paid off in other ways; after he graduates and completes a residency, Collins hopes to return to his native Nigeria and apply his training as a healthcare manager. “This experience reinforced what I want to do, long-term, and helped me see where both of my degrees can meet,” he said.
Each gift to global health initiatives generates valuable experience, contributes to community building, and helps students make a lasting impact that extends far beyond the Roddick Gates.