Dignitaries extol Ogunlesi’s contribution to health sector development

Dr. Ramalan Aliyu Mansur, yesterday, extolled the first Professor of Medicine in Nigeria, Prof. Theophilus Oladipo Ogunlesi, for the role he played in training of doctors and development of the health sector in Nigeria
Nigeria Medical Association.Photo: shutterstock

Enabulele, WMA mourn, urge FG to immortalise icon

Medical Doctors in Nigeria led by the President of Academy of Medicine Specialties in Nigeria (AMSN), Prof. Oladapo Ashiru and a consultant endocrinologist with interest in epidemiology and endocrine disorders at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano State, Dr. Ramalan Aliyu Mansur, yesterday, extolled the first Professor of Medicine in Nigeria, Prof. Theophilus Oladipo Ogunlesi, for the role he played in training of doctors and development of the health sector in Nigeria

Ashiru, in a statement, yesterday, said: “Great teacher and forerunner. He committed his life to the practice of Medicine as a Physician and an Academic. He is an Emeritus Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Specialties. He expressed profound admiration for the establishment of the Academy and wished us well.

“The Academy of Medicine Specialties of Nigeria expresses our sincerest sympathies on the passing of Emeritus Professor Theophilus Oladipo Ogunlesi, OFR, FAMedS, the first Professor of Medicine in Nigeria, who passed away on the 19th of January 2023.
He was a Leader, who set the pace as a medical professional, blazing the trail, and lighting the path for so many other medical professionals to follow, challenging stereotypes in medicine, and breaking barriers and boundaries. He was an academic giant, a teacher, and a mentor whose wise counsel always was available for all who sought it.

“We pray that the Lord Almighty will grant his family strength to bear the loss and fill the vacuum created by his transition. May the Lord Almighty send helpers to light his path into the Luminous Height.”

Mansur, in a telephone chat with The Guardian, yesterday, said: “In fact, I was one of the doctors that wrote about the History of Nigerian Medical Association. During the work, I came across the contribution and the role played by late Prof.

Theophilus Oladipo Ogunlesi, who just died a few days ago. He actually made tremendous contribution to Medicine in Nigeria. He was the first Nigerian Head of Department of Medicine at the University College Hospital, then University of Ibadan. He was the first professor of Medicine. He became professor in 1965. He was the first President of National Postgraduate College if Medicine, which is a postgraduate training institution for doctors. He has made a lot of contributions, training a lot of people who later themselves became professors and excelled in different fields of Medicine. He would be remembered for the role he played in entrenching the National Postgraduate College and postgraduate medical education in Nigeria; people who have made impact in training doctors both undergraduate and postgraduate.

“Among his contemporaries are late Prof. Oladipo Oladapo Akinkugbe of the Ibadan Hypertension Clinic. Most of them have died, Ogunlesi was the last of the generation to depart.”

President, World Medical Association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, said Ogunlesi, would be greatly missed by the medical world.

Enabulele, in a tribute, said: “I received the news of the demise of Emeritus Professor Theophilus Oladipo Ogunlesi, at the graceful age of 99 years, with great shock and sadness.
“While I sincerely appreciate the tremendous pains and grief occasioned by his demise, I extend my deep condolences to the entire Ogunlesi family, the Federal Government of Nigeria, the people and Government of Ogun State, the Nigerian Medical Association, the medical profession, the entire health community, and indeed all Nigerians. I pray God to grant them all the fortitude and grace to bear his cosmic exit.
“I still have very fond memories of Prof. Theophilus Ogunlesi, whose various medical literatures and texts were unputdownable medical bibles that provided insights and solutions to various challenging medical conditions.
“Aside from being the very first Nigerian Professor of Medicine and the first President of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, and the founding Director of the Ibarapa Community Health Programme, Prof. T. Ogunlesi was a charismatic medical elder, profound scholar, medical pathfinder, and a quintessential leader and administrator.
“I therefore call on the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Ogun State Government to immortalise Prof. Theophilus Oladipo Ogunlesi, by institutionalising his luminous legacies for the advancement of our country, the medical profession and the human race.
“Undoubtedly, Nigeria, the medical profession and health community, have lost a colossus who inspired many up and coming medical professionals with his life of commitment to patient care, medical ethics, equity and justice.
“May his inimitable and great soul rest in perfect peace.”

Ogunlesi, an Emeritus Professor from the Sagamu area of Ogun State, died on Thursday.
He made history in 1965 as Nigeria’s first Professor of Medicine.
Ogunlesi started on the path of a medical doctor at Yaba College of Medicine in 1947 and advanced his career at the University of London, 1953, where he qualified as a registered medical officer in England.

The family, in a statement signed by Adeleke Ogunlesi and shared by Tolu, Special Assistant on Digital/New Media, to President Muhammadu Buhari, confirmed his demise.

Ogunlesi, from Makun, Sagamu area of Ogun State, the father of billionaire Adebayo Ogunlesi, owner of Gatwick Airport, the second-busiest airport in the UK and the ninth-busiest in Europe died on Thursday.

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