The doctor is in: Nigerian immigrant opens GP practice in north Dublin
2018-06-15 10:54:11 -
By Lexi Stroud
Communities in Belmayne and Clare Hall in north Dublin now have a new GP to call as Dr Kenneth Uwoma Agbalizu opened his Northern Cross Medical Centre in the area earlier this month.
  Located on the Malahide Road next to the Airport Hilton, Dr Agbalizu looks forward being more than just a doctor for his fellow northsiders.
  The Nigerian immigrant and father of four originally came to Ireland in 2000 after completing his education at Abia State University and enrolled at NUI Galway.
  “I saw this country as a very small and young country,” Dr Agbalizu says of what attracted him to Ireland. “And there is a lot of opportunity here. You might not see it in the beginning but the more I went along here, the more opportunity I saw in this country.”
  Starting in 2002, Dr Agbalizu gained experience as a hospital doctor in a variety of departments, including surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics, gynaecology and psychiatrics, before he decided to become a general practitioner and open his own surgery. 
  “From a young age I knew I wanted to become a doctor,” he says. “I like the craziness that it can be.”
Perhaps calmer than the often crazy hospital environment, Dr Agbalizu’s GP practice has been in the works for some time.
“I’ve been coming here to see how the work is going for a while now,” he says. “Before opening a practice you have to get approval from the city council, sign the necessary contracts with both council and HSE. [Monday 11 June] was just the ‘official’ opening, but I’ve been working on this for a while, so it wasn’t really a first day here.”
  Starting his own business as a GP hasn’t come without its challenges for Dr Agbalizu, who speaks about the determination needed when going through the approval process, not to mention the administrative side of things.
  “I wanted to become my own boss, and it’s a large leap for anyone,” he says. “Working with management is different; here I get to be my own boss and whether it’s good or bad now I have to face the challenges on my own. 
  “My largest success so far has been getting my education and getting to the level I am at today. The practice is just a piece of that success.”
  In the coming years, Dr Agbalizu hopes to develop his practice into much more than the average doctor’s surgery. He wants to become a ‘one-stop shop’ for all of his patients, bringing physical therapy and mental health into the fold. With a pharmacy already at his door, patients already have a hassle-free way to fill their prescriptions.
  Dr Agbalizu’s advice for any immigrant coming to Ireland is to consider opening their own business like he has. 
  “First and foremost, learn the area and learn the people you are around,” he says. “It is something that is very achievable, with a bit of determination and patience.”
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