Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu
As the College of Medicine University of Lagos marks the 50th Anniversary of its establishment (Golden Jubilee), the Minister of Health Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu has paid glowing tribute to its founding fathers, for laying the foundation from which the enviable traditions of the college took root.
Onyebuchi who delivered a lecture tittled: “Medical Education in Nigeria; The Quest for World Standards and Local relevance,” noted that the tenure of the founding fathers witnessed remarkable physical expansion of the facilities in the institution.
According to the Minister, the mandate of the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos is to produce skilled health workers who will provide quality health services for the generality of Nigerians and contribute to improvement in global health and as well compete and compare with counterparts from any other part of the world.
Talking about some of the achievements of the institution in the recent times, the Minister said the College enjoys full accreditation of all its courses by the National Universities Commission and has recently commenced degree programmes in Radiography, Nursing Science and Medical Laboratory Science.
Thus from the initial Medical and Dental programmes, the College now has Nine undergraduate programmes apart from postgraduate programmes in several specialized areas. The College also gave birth to the Pharmacy programme which is now an independent Faculty.
Over a period of 50 (fifty) years, the College established in 1961 has produced a total of 6,687 graduates in Medical and Allied fields among which were 4,624 in MBBS; 702 in BDS; 424 in B.Physiotherapy; 314 in B.Sc Pharmacology; 190 in B.Sc Physiology and 42 in B.Sc Radiography.
He noted that today, the college is leading most of her Nigerian Medical Schools in undertaking major revision of the curriculum to reposition undergraduate training programme to meet current local, national and global realities and needs.
In 2011, the College as part of a Consortium of six Medical Schools in Nigeria (Universities of Ibadan, Maiduguri, Jos, Ahmadu Bello and Nigeria (Enugu Campus) competed for and got the GRANT for the Medical Education Partnership Initiative. The Grant is from the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the USA and it runs for 5 years
The Minister also commended the roles of the Missionaries in the establishment of western education in the country, saying for example, Scientific (aka Western) medicine was not formally introduced into Nigeria until the 1860s, when the Sacred Heart Hospital was established by Roman Catholic Missionaries in Abeokuta.
For most part of the colonial era, the religious missions played a major role in the supply of modern health care facilities in Nigeria. The Roman Catholic Missions predominated, accounting for about 40 percent of the total number of mission- based hospital beds by 1960.
Mission-based facilities were concentrated in certain areas, depending on the religious and other activities of the missions. Roman Catholic Hospitals in particular were concentrated in the southeastern and mid-western areas. By 1954, almost all the hospitals in the mid-western part of the country were operated by Roman Catholic Missions. The next largest sponsors of mission’s hospitals were respectively, the Sudan United Mission, which operated mostly in the Middle Belt areas, and the Sudan Interior Mission which worked in the Islamic north. Altogether they operated twenty five hospitals or other facilities in the northern half of the country. Many of the mission hospitals remained important components of the health care network in the north even in the 1990s.
The missions, in addition to the above, also played an important role in medical tr
aining and education, providing training for nurses and para-medical personnel and sponsoring basic education as well as advanced medical training, often in Europe, for many of the first generation of western-educated Nigerian doctors.