Thought Leadership

The Ibadan Medical Specialists Group

A few weekends ago…we attended the biannual Fund Raising dinner of the Ibadan Medical Specialists Group in London. I must admit – I have heard a lot about this aumni group of Nigeria’s oldest medical school. IMSG is a group of medical graduates from the University of Ibadan, based in England but with members from across the world.

I first met Lanre Ogunyemi a few years ago and he proudly told me about how the group had engaged with the Ibadan for years, donating a laptop, projector and photocopier to college every year, providing theatre outfits for medical students, subscriptions for medical journals for the Latunde Odekwu Library, travel fellowships for registrars and consultants and endowments for medical students….I really thought to myself that he was bluffing. We (Nigerians) love coming together to celebrate our alma Mata but to engage to this extent in its development was really unique.

Then a couple of years ago…I met another colleague; Jimi Coker. I invited Jimi to a private function but he gave his apologies saying that he was going for the most important trip of the several training missions he undertook every year. He was going “home” to Ibadan with a group of other Alumni for their annual symposium for medical students at the University of Ibadan! Kai…I thought…these guys are serious oh!

So when they invited me to their annual fund raising dinner this year…I jumped at it.

The dinner was great, full of inspiration and commitment. Well attended by colleagues, all full of energy and nostalgia about their “Ibadan”.
But these guys were not done. I was handed a copy of a book publised by the group for the school. They re planning more. I got back home and sat down and imagined the enegy it takes to do all this and wondered what keeps these guys going? Why do they do it? How do they find the time? How do they find the energy?
Since then, I have also been in touch with colleagues from the University of Ife. I found that they also have a group of medical graduates in the UK who started meeting formally in 2004 and has been growing…find out more here
So what of the rest of us…”Lions” as we tend to call ourselves, graduates of the University of Nigeria or all of the over 20 medical schools in Nigeria.
What of the over 3000 Nigerian Doctors with full registration to practise in the UK? How are you engaging with your alma Mata. And colleagues in the US…and colleagues in Nigeria.
I have learnt a lot from Lanre and Jimi….that it does not take a lot really. It only takes a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has….aluta!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

By Chikwe Ihekweazu

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (, which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

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