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Observations BMJ Confidential

Simukai Chigudu: The politics of epidemics

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 29 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3323
Duncan Smith


Simukai Chigudu, 32, is an immigrant from Zimbabwe who at age 16 was thrust into a Catholic boarding school in England, from which he went to Newcastle University to read medicine. He wrestled with a search for identity before experiencing an epiphany that inspired him into global health activism, when working in San Francisco at the Global Fund for Women in the summer of his second year. His forthcoming book, the study of a catastrophic cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe in 2008-09, explores the links between politics, economics, and medicine. He is now an associate professor at the Oxford Department of International Development—appointed, unusually, only months after completing his PhD. His Twitter feed reveals that he has a thing about Kanye West.

What was your earliest ambition?

I first moved to the UK from Zimbabwe to prepare myself to study medicine …

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