INAUGURAL LECTURE ON MEDICAL STATISTICS:
A MICROSCOPE FOR HEALTH AND DISEASE
PROF. E. A. BAMGBOYE
DEPARTMENT OF EPIDEMIOLOGY,
MEDICAL STATISTICS AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH (EMSEH)
COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, U.C.H., IBADAN
The Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellors (Administration and Academic), The Registrar, The Librarian,
Provost, College of Medicine, Dean of the Faculty of Public Health, Dean of the Postgraduate School,
Dean of other Faculties and of Students, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am grateful to God Almighty for the honour and privilege to be selected to deliver the 2005/2006 inaugural lecture on behalf of the Faculty of Public Health. The feeling of honour and privilege stems from the fact that if the Faculty of Public Health had not been created in 2002, I may not have had the opportunity of giving an inaugural lecture before retirement despite attaining the position of Professor 14 years ago.
This inaugural lecture is the fourth from the Faculty of Public Health and second from the Department of Epidemiology, Medical Statistics and Environmental Health (EMSEH). The first lecture was by Prof. J.D. Adeniyi from the Department of Health Promotion and Education, the second was from Department of EMSEH by Prof. M.C.K. Shridhar, a Professor of Environmental Health and the third was by Prof. O.O. Keshinro of the Department of Human Nutrition while the fourth one is also from the Department of EMSEH by a Professor of Medical Statistics. I can therefore predict with 95% confidence that the next inaugural lecturer from the Department of EMSEH will be by a Professor of Epidemiology.
When I received the e-mail from the Dean of the Faculty of Public Health, Prof. Olaolu Akinyele that I had been nominated to give the 2005/2006 inaugural lecture on behalf of the Faculty I readily accepted. I was then at the John Hopkins University School of Public Health as a visiting scholar. Since I was to send a topic immediately, I started to ponder on the topic and that night I had a dream in which I received the title of today’s inaugural lecture which is “Medical Statistics, a Microscope for Health and Disease”.
What Really is Medical Statistics, One May Ask?
Mr. Vice-Chancellor sir, as I ponder on this title many days later, I realized that Medical Statistics as the Science of counting health and disease, making sense out of those counts and foretelling what lies ahead is actually a microscope into health and disease. Previously Medical Statistics was only concerned with enumerating those dying in relation to those living, but there has been a paradigm shift as facts and impressions in Medicine are now expressed in numerical forms.
This includes laboratory investigations, radiological investigations and clinical observations. In short, the methods by which these numerical facts on health and disease are collected, manipulated, sieved, summarized and interpreted, making use of the whole armamentarium of statistical theories is the subject known as Medical Statistics (Chiang, 1985, Zellen, 1983).