The CSEM Advisory Group

Nkeiruka (NK) Obi

Nkeiruka (NK) Obi

Vice President and Regional Director, Africa, Smile Train

Nkeiruka (NK) Obi is Smile Train’s Vice President and Regional Director, Africa. A development specialist with over two decades of experience in the banking and non-profit sectors, she engages governments and community-based organizations to deliver on health and child-focused projects within the humanitarian, social impact, and philanthropic spaces. She is passionate about strengthening surgical systems throughout Africa through policy, infrastructure development, service delivery, training, and research.

Through dedicated advocacy, NK has built a network of key community influencers, including First Ladies, to help spread awareness around clefts. This work has improved the quality of life and productivity of patients and, ultimately, help build stronger communities. 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 (NSOANP Implementation) and the first Cleft Centre of Excellence in Africa. 

Bringing same innovative spirit, NK leverages partnerships to scale up surgical and anesthesia care capacity through evidence-based practices and patient-centered care. She played a pivotal role in establishing the post-fellowship Cleft Surgery Certification Program and TeleCleft (during the COVID-19 pandemic) with the West African College of Surgeons (WACS).