West African surgeons extend safe practices’ operations to Lagos
The West African College of Surgeons (WACS) has commissioned its Permanent Secretariat in Yaba, Lagos state as part of its mandate to extend operations of safe surgical services to grassroots and development of surgical manpower.
According to the body, the project, which is in line with the global health agenda, also seeks to enable self-sufficiency, reduce cost of examination and other services rendered to regional government as well as improving revenue base of the college.
The body of surgeons was established in 1960, as the body responsible for the training of surgical consultants and allied specialist doctors for medical schools and teaching hospitals in West Africa. It currently has 22 nations far beyond the confines of the mother body, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the Permanent Secretariat in Yaba, Lagos, recently, which was declared open by the President Muhammadu Buhari, the President of WACS, Prof. King-David Yawe, noted that the secretariat was a symbol of the unity of the West African medical practitioners.He stated that its leadership decided to invest in the project as part of its strategic plan to become self-sufficient in its core mandate and vision, and to hopefully reduce the cost of examination and other services it renders to regional governments.
Giving a background on the realization of the secretariat, Yawe said the first major step towards the fundraiser for its construction was taken in Calabar in 2010 under the leadership of Prof. Mbonu, while the land was purchased in 2012 during the tenure of Prof. Ogedengbe.He said the foundation was laid on July 8, 2014 during the presidency of Prof. Herve Yangni-Agante Jnr., with a completion period of 30 months.
“On February 23, 2017, a phase of the building was dedicated by the health minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, assisted by Prof. Omigbodun,” he added.Yawe noted that immediately he became the WACS president on March 3, 2017, he made the completion and inauguration of the secretariat a priority, saying the building was finally handed over to the Chairman, Registered Trustees of WACS, Justice Olukayode Shomolu (SAN) on January 15, 2018.
“The money for the project, totalling N1.2bn, came solely from members’ contributions, without bank loan or support from the public sector,” Yawe stated.He commended the tremendous roles played by the technical committee chaired by Prof. Osato Giwa-Osagie and the fundraising committee variously headed by Prof. Ogunbiyi and lately, Prof. Nimi Briggs, among others.He further advised the federal government to streamline the training programme for cardiothoracic surgery in order to have two to three well equipped centres that can meet international standards, which will be a big boost to the sub region, while appealed for governments’ intervention to aid the secretariat’s final completion, while, he advised for a streamline
While paying tributes to the WACS’ past and present leaders, Yawe expressed deep appreciation to Prof. E.A. Elebute and his family, who he said made the largest donation of N25million, just as he appreciated the Lagos state government for the strict supervision which ensured compliance with international safety standards; and especially to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for approving the final completion of the structure.
He also stated that the College has applied for land in Abuja for a multipurpose arena that will house skill and simulation centre, an international conference centre, and an examination/workshop centre.Also speaking former president of WACS, Prof. Olajide Ajayi, noted that the idea of a permanent secretariat was proposed by a Cameroonian Victor Anomah Ngu and Charles Easmond of Ghana in his 1965 address to a conference held in Accra, strongly urged “a conference of postgraduate surgical education, in concert with West African medical schools.”
“A committee emerged to look into the various aspects for the formation of the WACS, produced a training programme and looked into the possibility of a permanent secretariat for the College in Lagos,” Ajayi recalled.Commending the efforts so far, Ajayi said the inauguration of the permanent secretariat was a tutorial on unity in diversity; pragmatic decision-making processes and balanced strategic planning.