Esther Ajari, studying medicine and surgery at the University of Ibadan (UI), Oyo, Nigeria, always thought she would study engineering because she is great with numbers. But her best friend’s death, at age eight, caused by inadequate access to quality healthcare, and a recurring backache which troubled her for four years that doctors seemed unable to fix, prompted her to switch to medicine. A shortage of practicing doctors in her area has also strengthened her resolve to qualify and help the community.
Her multidisciplinary learning approach led her to take multiple courses in technology, public policy, journalism, finance, statistics, and sustainable development. She then shares what she has learned with fellow students, channelling this diverse knowledge to successfully impact thousands of them globally through capacity-building workshops/webinars, peer-assisted study schemes, study-material development/adaptation, review and improvement of their work, organizational-based leadership, and representation of their interests to the appropriate authorities. Much of this work has been delivered through working with the Federation of African Medical Students, the Nigerian Association of Medical Students, the Delta State Medical Students Association and serving as her university’s Young Researchers Club Administrator. As well as helping thousands of students with their studies, she has used some of her scholarship funds to pay the school/hostel fees of three of her classmates and has donated an old laptop, used books, clothes and furniture to help 15 other students. She has also helped over 3,000 students globally to develop their CVs and presentation skills, and even helped over 300 Nigerian students improve their financial status by teaching them how to trade stocks and cryptocurrencies.
She saved her own life in 2017, jumping off a speeding motorbike on a tarmac road to escape a kidnapping and has been doing all she can to save others by donating two pints of blood every year since 2016. To achieve her vision of a sustainable world where citizens have equal and adequate access to quality healthcare, education, and employment Esther has been working on major community-based development, research, and advocacy projects since she was 16, and started an NGO, The TriHealthon, when she was 19 which promotes health equity in Nigeria with sexual and reproductive health guidance for high-school girls and child nutrition guidance for mothers. During the COVID lockdown they provided a month’s worth of free food to 100 of the most vulnerable citizens in the local rural community.
Her academic achievements at university see her in the top 1% of students, including the highest Pharmacology score, awarded by an external examiner, in her medical school’s 73-year history, she has had journal research published on Covid-19 over the last couple of years and won various national and international scholarships and conference grants. These academic achievements have seen her included on UI’s 2020 Primus Honor list and she has also earned distinction in computing, ranked among the top 5% in skills assessment in Word, PowerPoint and Excel. After her degree she has her sights on a PhD in Health Policy at Stanford University and hopes someday to become the African Union or the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth.