Mrs. Nkeiruka Obi

Vice President and Regional Director

Mrs. Nkeiruka (NK) Obi is Smile Train’s Vice President and Regional Director, Africa and a senior development specialist with 26 years’ experience in the profit and non-profit sectors.

With over a decade spanning various managerial roles in banking , NK’s last stint was at United Bank for Africa Plc., where she held the position of Head/Senior Manager, Prestige Banking before joining Smile Train in March 2011 to become Program Director, West and Central Africa.

A strong advocate for governments and community-based organizations to deliver on health and child-focused projects within the humanitarian, social impact, and philanthropic spaces, NK is passionate about strengthening healthcare systems throughout Africa via policy, infrastructure prioritization, strategic partnerships, training, research, and innovation through evidence-based solutions.

NK has built a network of key community influencers, including African first ladies, to help spread awareness around clefts. Her efforts lobbying national ministries of health to make multi-level strategic investments in cleft care led to the first Cleft and Surgery E-Registry and the first Cleft Leadership Centre in Africa. She played a pivotal role in establishing a post-fellowship Cleft Surgery Certification Program with the West African College of Surgeons and telehealth programs through the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

NK serves many organizations furthering access to quality healthcare across the continent. She is an Advisory Group Member of the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 and a member of: the Global Initiative for Children’s Surgery and the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, the Steering Committee for the establishment of the National Cleft Care Center in Ghana, the NSOANP Implementation Committee of Nigeria, the International Symposium on Strengthening Surgical System in Africa by 2030, the COSECSA-WACS Post Fellowship Intercollegiate Committee on Cleft training in Africa, and Smile Train's International Working Group, Congenital Anomaly Registry.

She has also received numerous awards, notably being named: Ambassador for Newborns in Nigeria, Ambassador for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in 2021, one of the 100 Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD100) for 2020, and Global Health Leader by Global Citizens in 2019. She is also a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) and has membership in several organizations, including Rotary International, Golden Key International Honour Society, and the Bible Society of Nigeria.

She graduated with honors from the University of Calabar with a BSc in physics, obtained an MBA as well as several certificate-based trainings from Harvard Business School, and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in health psychology. She is a certified management consultant, a Global Professional of Human Resources, and an alumnus of Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos and the Haggai Institute of Advanced Leadership in the USA.

NK combines her passions through her award-winning writings. She puts the proceeds from her books towards sponsoring education for vulnerable children through the NGO she founded, Sisters Unite for Children.

She is a grateful wife, mother (including triplets), and grandmother.