BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEPARTMENT
The current Department of Haematology & Immunology evolved from a Pathology Science Complex. The founding fathers of Pathology in University of Nigeria included renowned pathologists such as Prof. A.N.U. Njoku Obi who pioneered the development of an indigenous cholera vaccine, Prof. Onuigbo who discovered the unusual retrograde lymphatic spread of breast cancer to adrenal glands (Onuigbo’s Dictum) and Dr. I.O Udeozor .
Between 1971 and 1974, the separate Departments in the Pathology Sciences were created. However, due to lack of manpower, Haematology &Immunology and Chemical Pathology Departments were administered together. The Department of Haematology & Immunology was later separated out and headed by Dr. G. O. Obi. During this period, there were notable Laboratory Scientists and Technicians/Technologists who were involved in the building of the Department such as Chief Nlemadim, Mrs Nwosisi and Mr. T.O. Onyekwere.
Other Lecturers who joined the Department later, include Prof. G. O. Okafor, Dr. J.L.I. Odili, Dr. O.G. Ibegbulam, Dr. S. Ocheni, Prof. I.E. Okpala, Dr. TheresaU. Nwagha, Dr. A.J. Madu, Dr. F. Enenebeaku, Dr. Angela O. Ugwu, Dr. HelenC. Okoye and Dr. Raluchukwu C. Obiatuegwu.
Building on its successful undergraduate programme, the Department initiated higher degree studies in Haematology and Immunology; including Residency/Fellowship training programmes (specialist training in Haematology and Transfusion Medicine under the auspices of the National and West African Post-Graduate Medical Colleges). In the 2013-2014 academic session, the Department produced her first Doctor of Medicine graduand in the person of Dr. (Mrs) N. Odunukwe, Director of Research in the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos.
Recent development and research activities in the Department that have had a high societal impact include:
- The successful pilot trials of two novel modalities of treating sickle cell disease led by Professor Okpala.(Okpala I, Ezenwosu O, Ikefuna A, Duru Aet al.Addition of Multimodal Therapy to Standard Management of Steady State Sickle Cell Disease.ISRN Hematology 2013: 2013: 1-5 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3872154/, Okpala I, Ibegbulam O, Duru A, Ocheni Set al. Pilot Study of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements In Sickle Cell Disease.Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica, Immunologica Scandinavica (APMIS). 2011; 119: 442-448 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21635551)
- Lectures/events and research activities organized to raise the public awareness of sickle cell disease. This is organized by the Sickle Cell Research Education and Prevention (SICREP) programme co-ordinated by Dr. O.G. Ibegbulam. Dr Ibegbulam also co-ordinates our volunteer blood donor recruitment activities.
- The establishment of the first Bone Marrow Donors Registry in Nigeria, BMRNhttp://www.bonemarrownigeria.org/ (the second of the only two Bone Marrow Donor Registries in Africa registered with the Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide, BMDWhttp://www.bmdw.org/).
Dr. Ocheni is a Search Co-ordinator and Co-Director in the Bone Marrow Donors Registry in Nigeria.
- The Haemophilia Treatment Centre based in our Instititution for the treatment of haemophilic patients in the South-East region of Nigeria. This is co-ordinated by Dr. Theresa Nwagha.
- The recently established Institute of Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases in the University is currently housed in the Department. The Pioneer Director is Professor Okpala, with Dr. Madu as one of the Associate Directors. This Institute is currently engaged with the development of a teaching curriculum and research facilities for Molecular Medicine and infectious diseases.
This Department is determined tooffer cutting edge research and international best medical practices in the areas of molecular medicine, haemato-oncology, bone marrow transplantation, sickle cell disorders, haemostasis and blood transfusion medicine.
LIST OF PREVIOUS HEADS OF DEPARTMENT:
- Dr. G. O. Obi 1974-1986
- Dr. J.L.I. Odili 1986-1993
- Prof. G. O. Okafor 1993-1995, 2000-2002, 2004-2006
- Dr.O.G.Ibegbulam 2002-2004, 2006-2008, 2010-2012.
- Dr. S. Ocheni 2008-2010, 2015 to Date
- Prof. I.E.Okpala 2012-2015
Faculty Information for M.B., B.S. Programme
The Faculty of Medical Sciences and Dentistry offers a six year academic programme towards the M.B., B.S. Professional degree for students admitted by entrance (JME) examination, 5-year programme for students admitted by direct entry. The constituent Departments of the Faculty offer the courses leading to this single professional degree.
Philosophy, Scope and Objectives of the Programme
The objective of the M.B., B.S. degree programme is to prepare students for a career in all spheres of Medicine – academic, research, general and specialist patient care, and administration. As a result, the programme aims at providing the students with a broad and sound scientific and professional foundation for the practice of medicine in any part of Nigeria or the world. The scope and content of the programme is such that the medical graduates should be competent to either practice on their own in any part of Nigeria, urban and rural, or undertake postgraduate training in local or foreign institutions. They should be conversant with standard clinical methods for the assessment of patients, be able to analyse all available data and use them to constitute an appropriate plan of action.
Successful graduates of the M.B., B.S. degree programme are well equipped (after housemanship) for careers in Government hospitals, private practice, teaching and research in Universities or Research Institutes and Administration. They are also qualified for post-graduate training anywhere in the world.
Surgical Separation of Siamese Twins
No birth defects have stirred the minds of people with such intensity and amazement as the birth of conjoined twins (Siamese twins). Most conjoined twins are still born, products of miscarriages, or victims of traditional rituals. The apparent incidence is recorded as 1 per 50,000 to 60,000 births. As of date 400 conjoined twins have either still joined or surgically separated in the entire world.Â Within the period, 1987 to 1991, a team of surgeons, anaesthetists, and nurses at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital embarked on the surgical separation of 3 different sets of conjoined twins namely – Pygopagus (joined by the buttocks), Craniopagus (joined by the head) and Ischiopagus (joined by the pelvis).
The Pygopagus twins was amongst a set of female triplets born (16 November, 1987) by spontaneous vaginal delivery. This birth procedre is outrightly condemned as it is engraved with high mortality for both mother and offspring. Delivery of all conjoined twins must be made by planned elective Caesarian section. Pre-natal diagnosis must be made by means of ultrasound scan, Radiology and other available investigations. At the age of 51 days, the conjoined pair were surgically separated (on 8 January, 1988). The babies (all three) are now about 13 years. The surgical success stems from adequate pre-operative study of the union and shared organs; efficient operative and post-operative management.
The Craniopagus pair (born on 9 March 1989) were surgically separated and reconstructed on 6 June, 1989 but the babies died shortly after surgery. This was a total vertical Craniopagus with an extensive fronto-parieto-occipito-temporal union. They shared an abnormal circumferential and cerebral sinus for which the surgical world has not recorded a success.
The Ischiopagus conjoined twins (born on 28 January, 1990) lived together for about one year before surgery (on 7 January, 1991). One baby died 6 hours and the other 5 weeks after surgery. In addition to other organs, they shared a single liver, pericardium and abdominal aorta. The unavailability of parental nutrition reduced their chances of survival.