On the 9th of June, The University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED) – Ondo state, held its first induction ceremony for graduands into the medical profession.
Located on Laje Road in the city of Ondo and established during the Mimiko’s-led-administration as the Govenor of the state; the institution stands as the first specialized university of medical & health sciences in Nigeria. Since inception, the university – under the leadership of the pioneer VC (Professor Friday Okonofua, FAS) and current VC (Professor Adesegun Fatusi, FAS) – has continually functioned towards training manpower for the health profession and becoming the best institution.
Being the first of its kind in the nation, the institution runs under a singular administrative team. Hence, the Vice Chancellor of the university doubles as the Provost of the Medical College. Likewise, despite recently receiving full accreditation from the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to successfully train and graduate medical doctors in February 2023, their pioneer medical students set started their final exams in March 2023 and got inducted by June 9, 2023. Setting a record as the fastest government-owned university to produce medical doctors – from accreditation to induction – within the shortest period possible, over the last 3 decades in Nigeria.
During the event, Fmr. Gov. Olusegun Mimiko – who is also a member of the medical profession – commended the efforts of the university leadership for upholding the dream of training competent healthcare professionals for the nation’s good and admonished the newly inducted medical doctors to retain their skills in the country for adequate provision of healthcare to the Nigerian population.
Following the induction ceremony, our Medical Mirror (MM) correspondent spoke with some members of the UNIMED’s pioneer medical doctors, also known as the “Pathfinder” set, who shared their experiences below:
Dr. Ige Olanrewaju (Dr. I. O.) – Clinical Postings Representative and the Final Year Committee Chairman for the Pathfinders.
MM: Congratulations on your recent induction into the medical profession, could you kindly introduce yourself?
Dr. I. O.: Thank you. My name is Olanrewaju Ige, a UNIMED Pathfinder (First set) Medical doctor, Professional Magician, Voice-over artist and Video editor.
MM: Wow, Professional Magician and Medical Doctor is a rare and interesting combination. What was it like and how did you become that?
Dr. I. O.: Indeed, very rare. Well, as a child, my father would make us check his empty pockets, recite some funny lines and drinks (the original capri-sun) would “magically” appear in his pockets. It was one of his many ways to impress us as his children, and I never forgot how amazing it always felt. So, growing up, I picked up a few tricks to amaze my friends and from there, over the years, I picked up more illusions to become “The Mastermind” I am today.
MM: Nice… So, how did you end up at UNIMED in Ondo studying medicine and surgery, knowing that you’ll be part of the first set to start up the school?
Dr. I. O.: Interestingly, I was a 200 Microbiology student at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA, also in Ondo State), when my father informed me of UNIMED and told me to apply. So, I did and was shortlisted for the interview. I had never experienced such interview before, and this particular one was an interesting experience. It was basically an oral exam, and I was examined on my “then discipline”, general knowledge and interest in Medicine. I went home, and on the day of my last paper in 200 level at AAUA, I got information that I was admitted. This actually made me laugh throughout the exam and didn’t bother to write much. Eventually, I resumed UNIMED after beginning 300 level in AAUA. Something that didn’t feel like a good decision then, but now, is the best decision I ever made.
MM: Wow, you’ve really had an interesting journey. How was the experience then, from your resumption till graduation?
Dr. I. O.: UNIMED was – and still is – a very unique medical school from Day 1. Because UNIMED tried to train us differently from the preclinical days, experimenting with different learning and examinations methods. Especially during clinical years, we trained under very nice and approachable people. So much that the Vice Chancellor was accessible to every student, all in all, it was a great experience.
MM: During your time in UNIMED, what event stands out for you the most?
Dr. I. O.: The best moments for me in UNIMED was when I successfully completed my last magic act at my last stage show titled, ‘FINAL PHANTASM’. Because it was an act I had been practising for almost 10 years and also my induction day – when I had to affirm my pledge to humanity and the medical profession.
MM: Beautiful! Also, was there any point you rethought about your choice of enrolling in UNIMED?
Dr. I. O.: From 200L, it was a journey of 7 years, 4 months, and 23 days. So yes, there were points it felt like it was never going to end. Times it felt like I was wasting away, because of different delays plus waiting for accreditation since we were the first set. But through it all, my family stood resolute with me, and I knew the administration of Ondo state and the university were doggedly determined to see us through. So, I never bothered, as long as I did my part, the rest would fall into place. And it sure did.
MM: Any pros and cons of being a pioneer set? Are there things you wished you knew or was exposed to as a student in UNIMED?
Dr. I. O.: Being the first set was very tasking. There was no one ahead to look up to. No one to guide us through how medical exams were, no past questions to give us ideas of what to face and then, having to wait months for accreditation to write every exam didn’t feel good. However, UNIMED provided us so many good Consultants, as we were directly trained by Consultants at every level. Also exposing us as students, to no limits of clinical skills. Starting Housejob, there’s nothing I wish I was taught as a medical student that wasn’t taught to us.
MM: Moving forward, what are the changes you’d like to see in UNIMED and your advice to the younger colleagues still in school?
Dr. I. O.: I honestly don’t think there’s anything I would like to change about the way I was trained at UNIMED. And to my younger colleagues, “It always ends”.
MM: Thank you for your time and we wish you all the best in your medical career.
Dr. I. O.: Thank you as well for the opportunity to share our stories.
Fun fact: The UNIMED pioneer set named “Pathfinder”, resumed first on the 12th of January, 2016 with a total of 54 students and inducted 34 medical doctors on the 9th of June, 2023.
Dr. Adara Motunrayo (Dr. A. M.) – Member, UNIMED Christian Campus Fellowship (UCCF) and pioneer medical set.
Dr. A. M.: My father saw the advert in the newspaper and asked me to try out the school. which I did. After the interview, I was granted admission to study medicine.
Dr. A. M.: Honestly, it was a rough road with highs and lows, good times and bad ones. Albeit, I’m grateful to God that it came to an end. My induction day felt unreal because it always looked like a dream – far away – throughout medical school.
Dr. A. M.: Asides UCCF activities, I also partook in our final year week. And personally, I was able to combine it with the help of the Holy Spirit and personal discipline.
Dr. A. M.: Even though there were times I reconsidered my choice of enrolling in UNIMED, I believe there were some privileges we enjoyed as the pioneer set. One major “pros” was the close relationship we had with our teachers and school staff. While “cons” included the delay in our academic years, lack of hostel at the initial stage of school, low exposure to other normal school experience or extracurricular activities and not having predecessors.
Dr. A. M.: Generally, I would like to see a better school environment for students and specifically, better treatment of the medical and dental students. For my younger colleagues, “Keep pressing on, the end is achievable and learn everything you can possibly learn”.
Fun fact: School fees in UNIMED for medical students was initially about 360,000 NGN and subsequently increased to about 560,000 NGN for the pioneer set, with the hostel accommodation cost of 170,000 NGN – which were paid annually per session. However, other sets currently in the school pay about 2.5 million NGN as School fees.
Dr Busayo Akinmoju (Dr. B. A.) – Member, UNIMED pioneer medical set.
Dr. B. A.: Initially, I was looking for admission to study Medicine and Surgery in the University of Lagos (UNILAG). I had done foundational diploma then, but it didn’t work out. So, I used the diploma result to apply for UNIMED’s Direct entry, and I got in.
Dr. B. A.: The experience has been a roller-coaster of emotions. We had to face the challenges of medical school heads on, without a senior set to tell us what to expect. And that was definitely a lot to navigate. But I’m glad we’ve seen the end of it.
Dr. B. A.: Yes. Very early on in 200 level when we didn’t have a clear view on whether we would get accreditation or not.
Dr. B. A.: Definitely, “Just take everything – one day at a time”.
Fun fact: From 2016 till date, UNIMED has produced one set of Medical Doctors, two sets of Nurses, two sets of Physiotherapists, one set of Medical Laboratory Scientists, and four sets of Basic Health Scientists. With a recently acquired go-ahead to fully train and subsequently induct Dentists in the nearest future.