UNIOSUN medical students can continue studies in LAUTECH

A former Board Chairman, Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Dr. Muyiwa Oladimeji, in this interview with TUNDE ODESOLA, speaks on the challenges facing the hospital, among other topical issues affecting health care delivery.
What’s your view on the Supreme Court judgment which stated that the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology belongs to Osun and Oyo states.
The judgment reflects the beauty of democracy. It was a long drawn battle between Oyo and Osun states with the former claiming that the hospital belonged to it. This claim was stoutly resisted by the Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola-led administration through the Office of the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Niyi Owolade. I congratulate the incumbent Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, and his Oyo State counterpart, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, over the judgment.
The implication is that LAUTECH belongs to both Osun and Oyo states; both states now jointly share vicarious liabilities and assets of the institution. It is unfortunate that technocrats and bureaucrats mislead governments most of the time; a lot of our colleagues misadvise governments at all levels. The former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, for instance, was misadvised. In the same vein, when we told our people in Osun that government cannot afford two teaching hospitals, some of our colleagues disagreed because of their personal interest – they did not want to lose their empires. How can Osun, a poor state, afford two teaching hospitals when a CT Scan machine costs N200m and a Magnetic Resonance Image machine costs N800m?
What’s your view about the plan to send students of the University of Osun to Ukraine to complete their medical studies?
Currently, some characters are advising Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration to send medical students of Osun State University to Ukraine in order to complete their studies because the school does not have an approved medical college. This is wrong. I know what I’m saying because I trained in the former Soviet Union, I later went to the University of Wales College of Medicine and Kings College Hospital Medical School, London, for my specialist training. I have a Ph.D in Nuclear Medicine and another Ph.D in Cancer Immunology. It’s nonsensical and misleading to advise the government to send the medical students abroad when LAUTECH is available.
The implication of sending students to Ukraine is that apart from the high expenses, the students will spend about seven years to complete their studies. One, they will spend a year to learn the new language and two, when they return to Nigeria, they will need to write and pass the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council examination. If anyone had the interest of the students at heart such an advice should have be thrown to the dustbin. Who is going to fund the trip and tuition? How much would it cost per student? Can’t the students be farmed out here in Nigeria?
What is the essence of running two teaching schools of LAUTECH in Osogbo and Ogbomoso and yet the government cannot farm these students to the teaching hospitals? Can the poor parents afford the tuition fees? Or is it the government that will solely foot the bill? If they are farmed out to Ukraine, they will begin from the scratch but if they are farmed out here in Nigeria, the worst case scenario is that a 400-level student might be asked to go and start from 200-level. Obviously some people are trying to profiteer in the Ukraine thing. Osun is a partner in the LAUTECH enterprise, therefore, LAUTECH should take care of Osun medical students.
The medical school in Ogbomoso is another available teaching hospital that can absorb the students too. We should make use of this infrastructure; why should anybody mislead the government by sending students abroad when an arrangement can be brokered between the government, the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council and the National Universities Commission to ensure that the students are absorbed. Government is not closing Ogbomoso LAUTECH Teaching Hospital down, so, why send the students to Ukraine. Let’s optimise the use of our resources, let’s not allow technocrats and bureaucrats to mislead the government. They tried to mislead the government during Oyinlola’s time and I think they should have backed down on that but they haven’t. It’s baffling that some people still want to hold the government down, I don’t want to mention names but if they don’t desist, I will begin to mention names and their contributions in minutes of past meetings. It’s unfortunate that academics, especially, would point accusing fingers at the political class when things go wrong, whereas, they (academics) are the ones who wrongly advise politicians. They wrongly advised Alao-Akala on the issue of LAUTECH ownership and they tried to do the same thing with Oyinlola but the former governor was circumspect over the issue. Prof Olu Aina, Mr Niyi Owolade and I had sleepless nights working things out on the issue of LAUTECH ownership with former Governor Oyinlola.
What’s your view on the LAUTECH ownership crisis that set former Governors Oyinlola and Alao-Akala against each other?
The crisis could be seen from two major perspectives. While it was political opportunism for some people, it was professional opportunism for some medics and academics, who were creating an empire for themselves. This is why I said Osun and Oyo should be congratulated over the Supreme Court judgment. During the administration of Oyinlola, we saw the project as a joint project and were committed to it. Oyo was saying that Osun had UNIOSUN and so it would hijack Osogbo LAUTECH, but we told them they could go and establish a state university too as Osun did. It was puerile for Oyo to say then that they wanted LAUTECH because Osun had UNIOSUN.
LAUTECH is a joint patrimony, which had been jointly funded by both states from inception till date and to wake up one day and say because Osun has UNIOSUN, it should cede LAUTECH to Oyo is puerile. But the fact is that Osun cannot afford to fund two teaching hospitals for now and Governor Aregbesola has made this clear – I agree with the governor on this because it is unrealistic and it makes no economic sense to fund two teaching hospitals. How can Osun run a teaching hospital in LAUTECH and UNIOSUN?
What do you think is responsible for the seeming rise in the incidence of cancer in Nigeria?
I don’t think there is an upsurge in cancer cases in Nigeria. I think science has only made it easier for us to detect cases of cancer than ever before. Cancer cases do not need to reach advanced stages nowadays before they are detected – unlike in those days when they were detected late.
Do you share the view that lifestyles lead to cancer cases nowadays?
Yes. Some of the things we do and the lifestyle we live make us to be predisposed to cancer. Pollution is an example. But we are even more able to detect it now more than we could in the past. The argument that cancer cases are on the rise is neither here nor there. Fact is, our forebears took more farm fresh fruits and vegetables than we do. More people smoke now than before. When I was in high school, it was an aberration to smoke but now, you see young ones at swimming pools smoking heavily. If these are the things we say predispose us to cancer, I say yes but this is not just to cancer alone but other forms of illnesses.
How can cancer be prevented?
We should try as much as possible to live healthy lifestyles and don’t overdo anything. We should watch the kind of things we eat and be conscious of the pollutants in our environment. Having said that, there’s no insurance against cancer! If you take a thousand persons that smoke, more of them will have lung cancer and if you take a thousand that don’t smoke, some of them will still have cancer.
From the immunological school, we sometimes define cancer as the product of the breakdown of the host immune response to particular factor ‘K’ which is a variable within certain parameters. What this means is that if your immune system is intact you might not have cancer. What breaks it down in Mr A is not what breaks it down in Mr B. There is a lot of research going on in this regard. The study of cancer is a multi-disciplinary endeavour. In the not too distant future, science will be able to curtail cancer scourge though better understanding of molecular biology, immunology and genetic engineering.
What is the stage of nuclear medicine in Nigeria?
It is at a very infantile stage. Gladly, Chief Afe Babalola donated a building for Nuclear Medicine Department at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. There was no Nuclear Medicine department in Nigeria before his donation. It took the kindness and generosity of Chief Babalola to donate these. In UCH they have a gamma camera, they have a radioisotope and other equipment. You have to send patients abroad, there’s no way only UCH can cope with the rest of the country.
What are the uses of Nuclear Medicine?
It’s very useful in the diagnoses of systemic and organic diseases and sometimes in their treatments. It gives you a dynamic and functional diagnosis. If I do a liver scan for example, I can tell you, with nuclear medicine, the functional evaluation of the liver, I can tell you particularly how the liver is functioning.


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