The College of Medicine and Health Sciences of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) Ekiti State achieved a notable feat recently when its pioneer students recorded a 100 per cent pass in their final examinations, with eight distinctions. The provost of the college, Professor Olurotimi Sanya, speaks on the feat and his expectations with SAM NWAOKO.
What do you really do at the college?
At the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, ABUAD, we not only train doctors; we train nurses, medical laboratory scientists, nutritionists, pharmacologists and so many others.
Your students were said to have done well in their external examinations. Who were they?
Our doctors, the pioneer students, did well in their examinations. So, we have produced our first set of doctors. We did this at a record time of six years plus. They came in in November 2011, and by August this year, they had already written their final examinations. We presented 43 of them for the external examination, not a local examination. The examination was supervised by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, which sent three observers: one for each paper. There were also six external examiners from across the country – that is in Medicine, Surgery, and Community Medicine. It was a professional exam. We presented 43 students and all 43 passed all the papers and we had eight distinctions. It is a feat in Nigeria and, not being a local examination, that makes it very spectacular.
There were notable challenges at the initial stage of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences in ABUAD. We recall that you had to virtually rebuild a Federal Medical Centre to be able to pursue your dream. How did you manage through that period to arrive at this point?
I will say the factors are, first, God Almighty. God because it is said ‘when God is involved in a matter, it doesn’t matter who’s not involved’; secondly, there’s the vision and passion of the founder, Aare Afe Babalola, for excellence in whatever he believes in doing. We know that most medical schools in Nigeria produce their first sets at average of 10 to 12 years; but Aare Afe Babalola was determined that this time round, it’s going to be a success, and he put lots of resources to achieve this. Medicine is a very capital-intensive course and Aare Babalola spent billions of naira. Even in Ido-Ekiti, he spent more than N3 billion to upgrade the place. Ido was a Federal Medical Centre (FMC) and the students could not be trained by a FMC; they could only be trained by a teaching hospital. So, he single-handedly upgraded the place to teaching hospital status before our students could be trained.
Then the third factor is the commitment of us the members of staff. We bought into Aare’s vision and we pursued it passionately too; and the result is what we are seeing. Of course, I must not fail to say that the students themselves were well motivated. They knew they were pioneer set; they knew there would be challenges and they braced themselves to accommodate those challenges. All these factors, one way or the other, contributed to the success of the programme.
So, are your students still in the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti?
They are still there. We still have two more sets there apart from the pioneer set.
When are they moving to the hospital constructed and equipped by Aare Afe Babalola, the ABUAD Teaching Hospital?
The ABUAD Teaching Hospital has already started operations. We are still getting some things in place. As soon as those things are fully in place, our students will move from Ido to here (ABUAD). You know Medicine is council-regulated, and there are things that must be there. It’s not just the structure that you need. There are some things that must be on ground before we can be allowed to train our students there. It’s taken for granted that we have all the facilities; but the council will still say ‘go ahead’ before we start. So, we are working towards that now.
In view of these, what is the prospect? What should Nigerians look forward to or look out for?
All the products of this university so far are making waves all over the world. Just about two weeks ago, one of our students who went to study in Singapore or somewhere emerged the best student in the Master’s programme in the university. He was presented with a prize by that institution. Also, one of our Engineering graduates scored first in a competition involving all the countries of the world. These are a few examples, and I believe that our doctors will also perform superlatively. In a few years to come, you’ll be hearing of Dr So and So from ABUAD doing one medical feat or the other.
Source: Nigerian Tribune News
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