Chuks–Adizue: Spurred By Love For Maternal Care
IPHIE Chuks-Adizue is the founder and Managing Partner of Deluxe Childbirth Services. Her area of concern is to assist mothers to have safe delivery and in the best of environments. What spurred her on was her own history. As a child, she said she was very sickly and quite frail. Indeed, she had almost died. She grew up promising to be a doctor, but later changed her mind. But that did not stop her from still hovering around child and mother care.
She recounts: “After being admitted in several hospitals and attended to by several doctors, only one doctor was able to diagnose my ailment and subsequently treated it. After careful analysis and consideration of my ordeal and all that I went through, I decided to be a doctor. I read sciences in secondary school and passed brilliantly; but I changed my mind at the last minute after counting how many years I’d have to be in university to qualify as a doctor.
But when she was to have her first baby, she decided to travel to the US, after witnessing the disturbing experience of a woman in labour. Upon her return to Nigeria, some friends pestered her with several questions, wanting to know how she delivered safely, and her experiences.
Without realizing it, she had become a resource person on childbirth in United States. She later realised that it could be a good opportunity to do something that would impact lives as well as open up some business opportunity. And that was it.
“By the time I was having my second baby in 2011, the idea of trading on this information as a business started out as a joke, but it truly stuck. I was concerned with how it would work out, as well as managing it with my current job. However, the doubts soon faded after realising that Nigeria had the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world and after being challenged by my husband. I was sure that this was something I could pull through successfully because I was already into it,” she said.
And that was how Deluxe Childbirth Services came into existence, with the sole purpose of helping expectant parents, especially mums longing to have their babies in the US and at suitable locations and decent facility they can trust.
She was also concerned with offering quality childbirth services at very affordable and realistic cost, regardless of whether her customers live in the US or not.
Naturally, Iphie said she is inclined to help women realise their entrepreneurial dreams whilst building stable homes and relationships. She then opened a virtuosity blog as a platform for sharing, caring, and interfacing with women of like minds.
On how it’s been since her venture into childbirth services, she says that providing support for families has been a fantastic experience for her, as well as the families.
“It’s been a great time for us. As a company, we’ve had our challenges, but with God’s guidance, we have always made it through. There are quite a number of new firms that offer similar services as we do; but what distinguishes us is the fact that we deliberately consider costs and good location. We have a database of almost 5,000 birthing facilities in the US to choose from.
“In addition, we have three years’ experience and a good track record. As the founder, I personally have three children born in the US and as a firm, we have helped birth over 135 babies in the US alone, including three sets of twins and a set of triplets. So, I can happily tell you that to a large extent, clients can trust us to always deliver to them good and qualitative services at any time,” she says.
With medical tourism now a common trend, she wishes to see a time when Nigeria would become a destination for good healthcare. If there is one thing she feels government can do to take this sector and healthcare practitioners to the next level, it is to make provision for steady power supply.
“As a country, this is the only way we can show the world that we are serious and that we are sincerely interested in bringing quality to millions of our people. It would definitely help save costs, which can be transferred to the end-consumer as reduced healthcare prices.
“I love what I do and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been able to touch the lives of these women in this special way, knowing that life itself is a miracle. So, I don’t take this service for granted and I always pray that God gives them an opportunity to also touch someone’s life the way I’ve managed to touch theirs. The feeling is indeed priceless,” she explains.
Although she never seriously planned an involvement in this line of business and the attendant experiences, she, however, feels it is the Lord’s way of grooming and equipping her for the future.
On how her outfit has impacted on the nation and contributed to its development, she says: “I am happy because my business has definitely contributed to my family’s GDP and that of my employees. On a more serious note though, I believe that the true measure of Deluxe Childbirth’s impact is not in the finances, but in the number of lives we may have potentially saved. It has never been about the money alone for us, but about helping as many parents, especially moms that can afford the US childbirth to do so; and then re-investing a portion of our income into developing maternity services here in Nigeria for those who cannot afford to travel,” she explains.
According to her, the plan is to introduce more and innovative products and services.
“All our products and services both current and planned are designed to contribute to the delivery of this objective where Nigerians and others are concerned.”
Iphie showcases an interesting and adventurous taste of what constitutes the Nigerian nation. She experienced a taste of Nigerianness while growing up. She had her primary education in Lagos and attended secondary school in Abuja. She had two semesters at the University in Anambra before moving on to the University of Jos, where she studied economics.
While at Unijos, Iphie was the president of AIESEC, which made her travel to Kano, Zaria, Benin, Calabar, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Awka and Ile-Ife among others. She had her youth service in Kogi State and has worked in Abuja and Lagos.
On people and experiences that have shaped her life, she says:
“I am people oriented and naturally inspired by people that make things happen. My mother inspired me to be the best at anything I do. Despite being a teacher with a very meagre income, she raised my brothers and I to be very confident, hardworking and to never give up until we touch the stars.
“Another person that deeply inspired me was Ify Ebu my in-law. In 2011, she was a young mom like me with two kids and an even more demanding job. But she somehow managed to combine everything with studying for her Masters’ degree, as well as her event management business and a consistent church worker. Seeing this challenge somewhat jolted me to reality.
“I immediately stopped complaining about how difficult life was as a working wife and mom. I told myself that if Ify could do it, so could I. Months later; Deluxe Childbirth Services came to life. Today, I’ve added even more endeavours to my daily schedule. Life is good despite working twice as hard and never getting tired of doing so.”
She is the first of three children and the only girl. She is from Anambra State but she was born and bred in Lagos.
“I grew up in the midst of many boys; so, I was such a terrible tom-boy. We lived in a compound with five flats and I was the goalkeeper of my compound’s football team. I even used to wear shorts to church on Sundays. In fact, it was so bad that I was shipped off to a girls-only secondary school, which helped to move me from wearing shorts to trousers. But today, I love dresses.
“My mom was a disciplinarian though very loving. She entrenched in us values of hard-work and integrity. She used to tell us, ‘Never take what does not belong to you, because if you do I will come to your school and beat you in front of all your friends. If you need something, just ask me.’ This has helped me greatly because even in my business when clients over-pay sometimes, we let them know immediately and return the excess.
“Also, I loved to sleep while growing up. Waking me up in the mornings was such a herculean task. So, my mother also used to tell me that sleep would take away something precious from me, if I wasn’t careful. In the university, this kept me on my toes, as I would not sleep until I had finished reading for any exam and I graduated top of my class.
“Starting Deluxe Childbirth Services also meant I had to work at night, but her words always kept ringing in my head. I was determined that sleep would not rob me of the dream; so, I persisted until the business grew to the extent of having its own staff,” she says.
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