Unsung Genius; Dr. Uchechukwu Robert Ibe MRCS MBBS BSc ATLS CALS

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Medicine (also called conventional, scientific, or mainstream medicine, especially when compared with alternative medicine or traditional medicine, is the field that mixes applied science with art in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness in human beings. This type of medicine is also regarded as orthodox medicine in most developing world countries, Nigeria inclusive. Alternate medicine has been the major means of treating ailments in third world countries before the advent of conventional medicine. It is any practice that is put forward as having the healing effects of medicine but is not based on evidence gathered using the scientific method. It consists of a wide range of health care practices, products and therapies, using alternative medical diagnoses and treatments which typically are not included in the degree courses of medical schools or used in conventional medicine.

Because the area of practice of medicine is the body of human beings, the designers of the course made it to be lengthy to avoid casualties during practice of the profession by personnel especially the principal actors – the doctors. In the United States preparation for medical school usually begins in high school. Beyond high school, medical training last through four typical periods: undergraduate education, medical school, residency and fellowship. If a physician chooses to complete a lengthy fellowship, his education may take 15 years or longer from the time she first enters college. It takes a minimum of 6 years to do Under Graduation alone, in both UK and Russia. But, to specialize in the fields, one would require 4 more years including the intern and practice before post-graduation. The minimum number of years a student will stay in any Nigeria university to graduate as medical doctor is 7years, before house job.

As medical practice centers on human life, the entry requirement into any medical discipline is high and challenging just like the study of the courses. In Nigeria, it is compulsory for intending medical students to have credit in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, English Language and any other course. In the United Kingdom, one of such requirement is as follows; AAA including Chemistry and/or Biology at A or AS level and excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking. If only one of Biology and/or Chemistry is offered at A or AS level, the other should be offered at GCSE grade A (or Dual Award Science grade A). And most universities world over insist that students must be 18 years of age at the time they start the medical degree course. Applicants who apply but would be under 18 at the start of that year’s course will be considered for a deferred place or advised to reapply as appropriate.

It is a known fact that Nigerian academic set up cannot compare to what is obtainable in the UK and most developed nations. Nigerian students who intend to study medicine are often given extra pre admission training before acceptance to study medicine. All these were endured by Dr. Uchechukwu Robert Ibe to get where he is today. Not only that he went, saw and conquered in the white man’s land, but in a special way. He graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCPE), Scotland, at the age of 28years, the young Nigerian to have been appropriated the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons on Friday 20th November 2009.

As a patriotic Nigerian who has the interest of the nation at heart, he excitedly wrote and informed His Excellency the Nigeria High Commissioner to United Kingdom Dr. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida OFR, MBBS, MRCP, FNMCP, FWACP and His Excellency Dr. Ikedi Ohakim the Executive Governor of Imo State Nigeria to be part of his graduation celebration, but none of attended, not even by proxy. Below are the letters he sent to them:
________________________________________

His Excellency
The High Commissioner
Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida
OFR, MBBS, MRCP, FNMCP, FWACP
Nigeria High Commission
9 Northumberland Avenue
London WC2N 5BX
United Kingdom
14 November 2009
Award of Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons
Your Excellency,
This is to inform you as a Nigerian, from Imo State, that I have been awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons at the age of 28. The investiture will be conferred by a representative of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, on Friday 20th November 2009 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
I recall with gratitude to God Almighty that so far, at the age of 28, I am the youngest Nigerian to be appropriated this honour.
I will therefore appreciate you proper encouragements for more academic and scholarly endeavours. I shall be greatly honoured if in addition there is a token presence of Nigerian representation at the ceremony, which is due to be held at the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, Scotland at 1:30pm.
Please accept the assurances of my highest regard.
Yours faithfully,
Mr Uchechukwu Robert Ibe MRCS MBBS BSc ATLS CALS
Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons
Trainee in Cardiothoracic Surgery; and
________________________________________

His Excellency
Dr Ikedi Ohakim
Executive Governor of Imo State
Government House
Owerri
Imo State
Nigeria
14 November 2009
Award of Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons
Yosur Excellency,
This is to inform you as a Nigerian, from Imo State, that I have been awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons at the age of 28. The investiture will be conferred by a representative of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, on Friday 20th November 2009 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
I recall with gratitude to God Almighty that so far, at the age of 28, I am the youngest Nigerian to be appropriated this honour.
I will therefore appreciate you proper encouragements for more academic and scholarly endeavours. I shall be greatly honoured if in addition there is a token presence of Nigerian representation at the ceremony which is due to be held at the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, Scotland.
Yours faithfully,
Mr Uchechukwu Robert Ibe MRCS MBBS BSc ATLS CALS
Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons
Trainee in Cardiothoracic Surgery.
________________________________________

This young patriotic Nigerian wants to contribute his quota in the development of orthodox medicine that he has submitted proposal to relevant authorities and is yet to any response not to talk of favorable one. The attitude of the authorities is making him to think that the country does not need his services.
It is understandable that some government officials who are corrupt and averse to change and challenges will not relay such fit achieved by such a young Nigerian to the President to act upon. Recall that the government is making effort to curb brain drain in essential need areas like medicine and engineering. And now, a young Nigerian is asking to be absorbed into the system with his rare knowledge and specialization and some people are preventing the right people from knowing and taking action.

Nobody should blame this young man or cry over brain drain if this young man decides to settle permanently in the UK. Nigeria is one of those countries that are below WHO recommended Doctor per patient ratio. Official statistics show that there is one doctor to every 6,400 patients in Nigeria. This falls far short of the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of one doctor to every 600 patients and is a grave threat to the physical and mental wellbeing of the country’s populace.

Since the inception of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), there have been 65, 000 registered medical doctors but presently, only about 25, 000 medical doctors are practicing in the country. The statistics above shows that others not practicing in the country have availed themselves the opportunity of better incentives abroad. Is it not wise for the authorities to look for those patriotic Nigerians who are willing to forgo large incentives abroad and come to serve their father land? It is high time the authorities stopped playing politics with things that matter most to Nigerians.

Furthermore, we will keep tab on the progress of this young man in education, generally.

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