Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University College Hospital, Ibadan..
Samuel Omokhodion was born to Pa Jacob Avblimen and Madam Victoria Edewede Omokhodion of Emuhi Ekpoma, Esan West Local Government of Edo State on 9th March 1953, in Ondo state while his father was working in the Civil Service of the old Western Region of Nigeria. Samuael Omohodion attained the illustrious age of 70 years in December 2022. This edition of chronicles examines his biography – early life, career in paediatric cardiology, number of publications, professional affiliations, and priestly calling.
Dr. O.S Michael
Dept. of Pharmacology and Therapeutics,
University College Hospital,
Samuel Omokhodion was born to Pa Jacob Avblimen and Madam Victoria Edewede Omokhodion of Emuhi Ekpoma, Esan West Local Government of Edo State on 9th March 1953, in Ondo while his father was working in the Civil Service of the old Western Region of Nigeria. Edo State is the 22nd largest State by landmass in Nigeria. The state’s capital and city, Benin City, is the fourth largest city in Nigeria, and the center of the country’s rubber industry. Created in 1991 from the former Bendel State, is also known as the heartbeat of the nation. Edo State borders Kogi State to the northeast, Anambra State to the east, Delta State to the southeast and South-South and Ondo State to the west.
Samuel Omokhodion’s family later moved from Ondo State to Ibadan, Oyo State where he attended Alafia Institute, Mokola for his primary school education. After his primary education, his family moved back to Benin, Edo State, in 1964. Between the period of 1964-1970 he completed secondary school education. Samuel Omokhodion gained admission to the University of Ibadan in 1971 where he studied Medicine. He obtained the prestigious MBBS degree in 1977.
Professional Career in Paediatric Cardiology
Upon graduation from medical school, Samuel proceeded to internship at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. The University College Hospital, (UCH) Ibadan was established by an August 1952 Act of Parliament in response to the need for the training of medical personnel and other healthcare professionals for the country and the West African SubRegion. The University College Hospital, Ibadan was initially commissioned with 500-bed spaces. Currently, the hospital has 1,000 bed spaces and 200 examination couches with occupancy rates ranging from 65 to 70%. Samuel Omokhodion sharpened his clinical skills during his internship at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. At completion of internship, he moved to General Hospital, Pankshin, Plateau State, Nigeria, for the one yearlong National Youth Service (NYSC). He returned from Pankshin to start the residency programme in Pediatrics at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, in 1979. On 19th January 1980, Samuel Omokhodion got married to Folashade Akinyede whom he met in medical school in 1975. The union is blessed with 3 children Osahon, Ofure, Osagie.
He completed his training with certification from the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria and the West African College of Physicians. The National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria was established on September 24, 1979, under the National Postgraduate Medical College decree No. 67 now Cap N59 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. The College is a tertiary institution at the apex of medical education in Nigeria, producing medical, surgical, and dental specialists/sub-specialists who are capable of providing world-class research, teaching and healthcare. After obtaining the postgraduate certification of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, Samuel Omokhodion went on the year abroad programme and worked at the Guy’s Hospital, London (a huge NHS hospital in the London Borough of Southwark, one of the tallest hospital buildings in the world, standing at 142.6m, with 34 floors) and later transferred to the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam where he obtained certification in Paediatric Cardiolgy (Interventional Cardiology). On return to Ibadan, he was appointed Lecturer1/Consultant Paediatrician in 1987 and rose through the ranks to become professor of Paediatric Cardiology in 2006.
He had an additional certification in Paediatric Cardiology (Interventional Cardiology) while on sabbatical leave in Israel at the Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem. While in Israel he met Dr. Amram Cohen a cardiac surgeon who offered to treat Nigeria patients free of charge if they could be flown to Israel. Amram “Ami” Cohen was born in 1954 in Washington and lived in Israel for his early childhood before returning stateside to Maryland in the 1960s. He was an Israeli surgeon and teacher who in 1995 established the Save a Child’s Heart foundation, which helped bring poor children to Israel for life-saving surgery. Dr. Cohen was a 1972 graduate of John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, a 1976 graduate of Johns Hopkins University and a 1980 graduate of the University of Virginia’s medical school. He served a surgery internship and residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a cardiothoracic surgery residency at Brooke Army Medical Center Hospital in Texas and a pediatric cardiac surgery residency at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Save a child’s heart (SACH) came into being in 1995 when an Ethiopian doctor contacted Dr. Cohen after being referred to him by a mutual friend. The doctor asked for Dr. Cohen’s help with two children in desperate need of heart surgery. Dr. Cohen said yes and organized flights approval fromthe hospital and accommodated the children in his home during recovery. Dr. Cohen died on Aug. 16 in Tanzania after a heart attack.
Upon Omokhodion’s returned to Nigeria, he initiated a Non-Governmental Organization Save a Child’s Heart, Nigeria through which agency 713 children were surgically treated in Israel and later in India, the United Kingdom and Ghana. He thereafter attracted several Cardiac Mission teams from United States, United Kingdom, Italy and India to undertake definitive surgical interventions at the University College Hospital. Omokhodion became a Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Ibadan in 2006. He has been the head of the UCH Cardiac team since 2006 up onto his retirement from active service of the University in 2023. He anchored the development and building of the Institute of Cardiological Sciences, University of
Ibadan. The building nearing completion, is remarkable for its size and glowing architectural design.