Beginnings of Neurosurgery at The University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Introduction

Available data concerning various neurologic disease entities occurring in West African are still appalling scanty, such that a vigorous effort seems urgently essential in the next few years to rectify this lag. In various parts of Nigeria, like much elsewhere in Africa, much neurologic problems presently remain inadvertently neglected for the more pressing consideration of the common tropical diseases and general surgical emergencies. It can be safely presumed that every day there are innumerable illnesses of the nervous system, unrecognized and untreated, that go down in these parts with many a patient, hidden in the remote villages or lost forever irretrievably into the many unmarked graves.

The work of Monekosso on the endemic tropic myelopathies in Nigeria is familiar to West African medical readers. The transactions of Collomb et al. in Dakar on entities such as intracranial tumours, vascular malformations and abscesses in Africans are well commendable. In a recent brief study of “The Pattern of Neurological Disease in Ibadan” published by KAUSHIK (1961), another noteworthy beginning has been made in a useful direction. It is hoped that these landmark efforts will, by the paucity made apparent thereby, serve to provoke more clinicians in these areas into a determined effort of bringing verified nerulogic diseases of all types into light.

The purpose of this communication is to introduce the presence of Neurological Surgery as a defined discipline to Nigeria and to the West African Medical scene.

Prelude to Neurosurgery

Progress in development at the University of Ibadan on a new subspeciality in October, 1962 when the Rockefeller Foundation of New York sponsored an academic facility for a neurosurgeon in the Faculty of Medicine. This possibility stemmed from the dynamic programmed of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Kenneth Dike and from the vigilant outlook of the new Dean of the Medical School, Professor J. C. Edozien. An interview with Dr. John M. Weir of Rockefeller Foundation in New York City in August, 1962 lent a good deal of impetus to the author’s keen intent on a Neurosurgical Unit in Nigeria. By the end of October 1962 this new unit made a start at the University College Hospital, Ibadan with 8 kids.

Neurosurgical Activities, University of Ibadan – Before October, 1962.

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