By Adejumo Kabir
The medical and health research in Obafemi Awolowo University has outstanding feat in Nigeria which may be difficult to compare with many of the Nigeria’s institution.
The research and academic feats include the first Siamese twins to be separated in sub Saharan Africa was carried out at its Teaching Hospital.
OAUTCH provides one of the best health facilities in Nigeria with affordable and cheapest medical services.
The teaching hospital operates a 24-hour service with 9 functional units, namely; Medical Consultation Unit, Nursing Unit, Maternity Unit, Pharmacy Unit, Environmental Health Unit, Laboratory Unit, Radiology Unit, Records Unit, Central Administration Unit and Driving Unit.
Dr. Abiola Okeowo, a staff in the health center who spoke with our reporter said the medical research facilities are embodied in the spawning teaching hospital, the Wesley Guild Hospital Ilesha, and Comprehensive Health Centers as well as the Multidisciplinary laboratories at the main University Campus.
Original discovery or contribution of global import in medical research undertaken at University at ife include; the potential anti-sickling properties of fagara zanthoxylloides, mechanisms of chloroquine -induced pruritus, a pharmacogenetic variation common in blacks and linked to opiate receptors and which has expanded the neuroscience of pruritus, the role of eosinophilia in the pathogenesis of endomyocardial fibrosis (EMF), the role of thiamin deficiency induced by anaphe venata entomophagy, in the causation of Ijesha shakes or seasonal ataxic syndrome.
He also said further neuropharmacological discoveries include the GABA-ergic sedative, antipsychotic, and anticonvulsant actions of Spondias mombin , a plant used for mental and neurological treatment by Nigerian herbalists and traditional healers.
Currently, biomedical research discoveries undertaken on ground at Ife include, the predominance of unipolar rather than bipolar mania, the practice of Yoruba traditional psychiatry, gynecomastia and prolactinemia induced by Cannabis -abuse, the efficacy of honey compared to Eusol in pediatric wound dressing and faster healing times, the antimicrobial properties of Acalypha Wilkensia and the hypoglycemic properties of local flora.
Other discoveries include the etiology of renal diseases in black Africans, the rationalization of antihypertensive/anti-heart failure therapy in blacks, as well as the mechanisms and reversal of cardiac cachexia by inhibition of the renin -angiotensin system.
OAUTCH was among the topmost institution that identified Hypertension and hypertensive heart disease as the commonest cause of sudden cardiac death in Nigerians, in contrast to patterns in Western nations (mostly by acute myocardial infarction), and combined renin- angiotensin and sympathetic nervous inhibitors was demonstrated to reduce congestive heart failure mortality by up to 50%.
The teaching hospital is consistently cited as highly reputable teaching hospital based on his numerous records. it has served as a training site for Nigerian foreign-trained doctors, who are required to pass the medical licensing examination organized by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
Since the first separation of Siamese twins the separation of Siamese twins has been successfully carried out on different occasions while successful cochlear implantation has been performed repeatedly in the otorhinolaryngology unit.
The university teaching hospital has a standard renal center with active renal replacement by hemodialysis, CAPD and renal transplantation. The gastroenterology unit is well equipped and manned by professors and residents in endoscopy and colonoscopy and who have undertaken research on gastroenterology of peptic ulcer disease and tumors associated with Helicobacter pyloris, Hepatitis B and C in collaboration with the Department of Pathology and Morbid Anatomy.
Researchers at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology have investigated the high incidence of fraternal (dizygotic twinning) at the Ife-Ijesha zone and attributed it in part to polyovulation inducing phytoestrogens present in locally consumed yams.
Other research from that department entails the mechanisms and risk factors for and prevention of maternal mortality and infertility.
The feat of the first Renal Transplantation to be undertaken by a Team of Indigenous Surgeons in any Public Institution in this Nigeria was successfully carried out in the Department of Surgery of the teaching hospital in May 2002. The ophthalmology unit has continued to practice modern techniques like the small incision cataract surgeries and is developing the Vitreo-Retinal Surgery unit.
With over 250 laparoscopic surgeries performed since 2009 and a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic gastrointestinal, respiratory and urological endoscopic procedures performed on routine basis, the Department has blazed the trail in minimal access surgery and surgical endoscopy. All arrangement is being made to commence open heart surgery in the Department in the next few months.
Many lecturers in the Department are External Examiners and Visiting Professors to other Medical Schools in the country and a number serve as Examiners in the Postgraduate Medical Colleges.
Ife alumni and faculty have won many national and international honors and distinctions including, a National Science Foundation Career award, MLK-MIT Fellowship,
Bruce -Shonberg Awards for Neuro-epidemiology, Merck International Fellowships, Young Investigator Awards by several American Clinical or biomedical research societies.
Others are the Outstanding Young persons of Nigeria for academic accomplishments organized by the Junior Chamber International , many international prestigious and distinguished Fellowships of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Surgeons, obstetrics and Gynecology, of the British Pharmacological Society, American College of Surgeons, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Association of Pediatrics American College of Cardiology, American College of Physicians and a membership of the International Order of Merit (IOM), and named professorships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Texas at Austin, Harvard University, and a Distinguished professorship at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
Ife alumni hold faculty positions or full professorships at Johns Hopkins University, Haverford College, Baylor College of Medicine, in addition to other institutions earlier mentioned. At least two Ife university alumni or former faculty have been awarded honorary doctorate degrees (D.Litt) in humanities in the UK and United States (Prof Toyin Falola of the University of Texas at Austin, and Prof Olupona of Harvard University). I
Ife alumni and faculty have authored and co-authored many Textbooks and monographs in their respective fields of training.
The university pioneered the resuscitation and modernization of the traditional bronze-casting technology. It also pioneered the introduction of entrepreneurship education at the undergraduate level and this has now been adopted nationally and by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
It is the leading ICT University with a bandwidth of 113 Mbit/s as well as a pioneer in iLab. The first iLab in Africa, south of Sahara was developed and established in OAU in collaboration with MIT.