Behold! Unto Us A Varsity Is Born By Olusegun Hakeem-Adebumiti



On Saturday March 12, 2016, a new Ivory Tower named University of Medical Sciences was birthed in the city of Ondo, Ondo State. The two events that shaped the historical day were the official inauguration of the school and the matriculation of over 200 students that were admitted for the 2015/2016 academic session.

The adventure of the new university, whose acronym is UNIMED, began in April 2015; after the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Julius Okojie, presented the Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, the letter of recognition of the university at an event held in Abuja. The presentation of the letter thus signalled a paradigm shift in medical education in Nigeria, with UNIMED emerging the first medical university in the country.
Very few of such universities presently exist around the world. Apart from being the first in Nigeria, it is the third in Africa. The Medical University of South Africa in Pretoria and the Medical University of Science and Technology in Sudan are presently the only two of its kind
in Africa.

The Poznan University Medical Sciences, New York; the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; and the Charles Drew University of Medicine in Los Angeles, California, all in the USA, are examples of medical universities available on the global stage.
Going down memory lane, Nigerian institutions were the preferred universities for students from all over Africa desiring medical education in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, Nigerian students prefer to attend medical institutions in countries such as Ghana, South Africa and European countries. This has resulted in considerable brain-drain, which has adversely affected the health care delivery system and contributed to Nigeria’s inability to improve various health indicators in the country.
The creation and establishment of UNIMED as a new medical educational institution is seen as one that will correct many of the anomalies that presently bedevil medical training in Nigeria, allowing the country to return as a central hub of medical education and service delivery in the African continent.

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The mission of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo is to provide exceptional quality and comprehensive health care and integrated education and research in all health-related sciences. It also aims to expand access to compassionate and high quality health care for under-served populations, and to lead the scientific pathway for reducing the burden of disease in the areas of operation.

The African region has been characterised by high level of endemic infectious and non-communicable diseases, and with deficit of quality human resources to confront the health challenges.
It was out of the desire to confront these related health problems that the university evolved as a central hub of medical education, training, research and service delivery for the whole of West and Central Africa and, indeed, the entire African region.
One beauty of the establishment of the university around the Medical Village is that other institutions within the village, which include Mother and Child Hospital, Trauma and Surgical Centre and the Kidney Care Centre, are to provide training facilities for students.
In positioning the university as a world-class institution, the cut-off marks set for the students who applied for medicine and surgery were pegged at an aggregate score of 72, while the admission list was strictly based on merit.
The five courses being run in the school, namely – Medicine, Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology and Dentistry – are tailored towards the advice of the National Universities Commission and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN). Moreover, the University will commence Nursing and Physiotherapy courses in the next academic session.
The exemplary curricula and programmes of UNIMED in various health disciplines set it apart as a model in medical education. This will endear its method of specialised education to health care providers and decision-makers around the world. For a university which boasts council members headed by an Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Oladipo Akinkugbe, alongside the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Friday Okonofua, as well as notable practitioners in the field of medicine, the sky is surely the starting point for UNIMED in achieving the mission and vision of medical
education. The political will is also there with Governor Mimiko being a medical doctor himself.
With the take-off of the university as a medical hub, providing excellence service delivery in training and research in various medical disciplines, it is the desire of Nigerians that UNIMED will provide mechanisms that will stem the current tide of increasing brain drain and medical tourism that has been a cog in the wheel of Nigeria’s economic growth.
Also, Ondo State will now start producing lots of first-class medical doctors that can practice in any part of the world. The specialised university has now provided a national benchmark in Nigeria, while also becoming a global reference point in medical education.

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