Leadership Mentoring: Panacea to succession in health sector – Surgeon

Dr Adefemi Afolabi, a Consultant Endocrine Surgeon at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, on Sunday described leadership mentoring in the health sector as a panacea for growth and development.
Afolabi made this known at the End of Year outing of the Endocrine and Hepatobiliary Division, Surgery Department, UCH, in Ibadan.
According to him, the initiative of mentoring young doctors by the older ones was developed out of the dearth of mentoring in the African culture.
He said that emphasis on leadership had always led to succession tussle at institutional, national and international levels and this needed not to be happening.
The consultant recalled that the leadership mentoring in UCH dated back to 2006 and the tradition had been upheld to date by the senior surgeons of the department.
“The mentor initiative was established after I returned from a three-month observership programme under the Director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Centre of the University of Carlifornia, San Francisco, in 2007.
“A lot of observership and exposure to senior physicians and their practices which immensely encouraged me in my career encouraged me to start the ‘Mentor’ on my return to UCH, Ibadan.
“The programme still runs at the University of Ibadan till date.
“It exposes medical, dental physiotherapy, Nursing, Human Nutrition students of the College of Medicine and students of the School of Nursing of UCH, to their teachers and lecturers who they select to be “The Mentor” of the Day.
“The programme started with pilots, which consists of small groups of students who selected The Mentor of the Day.
“It was approved and registered by the Executive Management Committee, under the leadership of the Provost of the College of Medicine, Prof. Akinyinka Omigbodun.
“It has been a huge success since its inception. The pilot programme had featured Prof. Victor O. Adegboye (Surgery), Prof. Temitope O. Alonge (Surgery), Prof. Jesse A Otegbayo (Medicine), among others.
“Some others are Dr David O Irabor, Dr (Mrs) Achiaka E Irabor (Family Medicine), Prof. Obafunke Denloye (Child Oral Health), Dr Adeoluwa O. Jaiyesimi (Physiotherapy), Prof. Mathew T. Shokunbi (Anatomy and Neurosurgery),’’ he said.
Afolabi further disclosed that the passion for mentoring made him sustain a practice started by Prof. Olusola Akute when he was in UCH.
“At the first week of every December, Resident Doctors and House Officers were usually invited to the Department of Surgery Seminar Room where they discuss other issues of life besides Surgery.
“These pieces of advice have culminated in many of the Registrars who are now Consultants to own their personal landed properties.
“After Prof. Akute left the UCH, Ibadan, the tradition continued with the House Officers encouraged to take Resident Doctors and their Consultants out, in appreciation of the training they had received in the past months.
“The monthly or quarterly night out had taken place at the Agodi Gardens and three other restaurants and Hotels around Ibadan city.
“The Division also invites Medical students, Nurses, friends and patients of the Division who had established good rapport with the Division in the course of their treatment.
“This has improved doctor patient relationship,” he said.
Prof. Olu Akute, a retired consultant at the Endocrine and Hepatobiliary unit, also expressed satisfaction and pride at the way the mentoring programme had been sustained in the department.
He charged the residents and House Officers to imbibe the spirit of “Ibadan” wherever and whenever they travelled outside the country.
According to him, the “Spirit of Ibadan”, includes all the knowledge, tradition of learning and teaching and training, impacted on students while in school.
Akute said that University of Ibadan being the first University in Nigeria was known for her high standards all over the world.
He urged the residents and Registrars who trained in the department and were being sent forth, to emulate the tradition of mentoring those coming behind them.
Also, Prof. Ope Adekunle, a retired lecturer and consultant surgeon, said he was happy that the intergenerational luncheon helped a lot in bonding among junior doctors and their teachers and retired teachers.
He charged consultants to emulate the tradition of mentoring the junior doctors, adding that it will encourage development of the health sector in Nigeria.
“The senior doctors must assist the junior ones coming behind them to rise above board in their area of specialisation.
“I have learnt a lot from the interactions today and charging you, young doctors to uphold the tradition of mentoring which we assisted in establishing in 2006,” Adekunle said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the mentee doctors who attended the luncheon included three medical student mentees, Resident doctors, House Officers who had rotated through the Department of Surgery.
Others were research assistants, mentees outside UCH, friends and former patients of the department were not left out.
NAN also reports that the luncheon was a social interactive at which everyone present introduced themselves down to their roots, special diets and culture that span across South East, South South and South West geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
NAN also reports that Akute is also an alumna of the University of Ibadan, who retired at different times as senior lecturer and consultant surgeon in endocrine and hepatobilliary surgery at the University of Ibadan and College of Medicine.
Similarly, Adekunle had been a head of Unit at the department of surgery and also the chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, and Lagos.
He was also a Director of Post Graduate Training at a South African university after he retired at the University of Ibadan.

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