“In The Next Five Years, Medicine Will Not Be Taught As We Currently Do”, Says Renowned IVF Specialist

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The world-renowned Artificial Reproductive Technology Specialist, Professor Oladapo Ashiru, has submitted that technology will radically change how the subject of Medicine is taught and practiced in the coming years.

He declared that Artificial Intelligence (AI), among other digital innovations, will play a defining role in that invasion.

Prof. Ashiru stated this during the 17th Horatio Oritsejolomi Thomas/61st Founder’s Day Lecture of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos which was held at the Old Great Hall on Thursday.

The lecture he delivered was titled: “Transforming Healthcare and Medical Education Through Digital Innovations: From AI-Assisted Interventions to Edutech”.

Professor Ashiru traced the evolution of medical education from its earliest days of exploration and discovery and guided the discourse through the rapid advances made in knowledge and technology.

His words: “Today, digital technology has invaded the medical education space for good, and we can never run away from it.

“I believe that in the next five years, Medicine will not be taught as we currently do. Artificial Intelligence (AI), among other digital innovations, will play a defining role in that invasion. From first-hand experience, I can tell you that Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) is one branch of Medicine that has quickly adapted to this technological invasion and greatly benefitted from it”.

From the pioneering efforts of Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards in 1976, the guest lecturer traced the evolution of In-Vitro Fertilisation as a specialty of Medicine that was once derided into one that has become the pride of the profession, with many successful practitioners in Nigeria and Africa today.

The guest of honour and Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, who represented the Chief of Staff to the President, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who was the Special Guest of Honour expressed delight at his return at his alma mater many years after graduation.

He thanked God and all his teachers at the College for moulding him into a successful Medical Doctor.

“Coming here to the Old Great Hall is a big Déjà vu moment for me. It is truly a moment of gratitude for me, to God and all my professors here at the College and the Faculty of Clinical Sciences in particular”.

The Honourable Minister lauded the choice of lecture theme and described it as “fitting perfectly with the 4-point Agenda of the new leadership at the Federal Ministry of Health for revamping our health sector.”

“Digitalising our healthcare system is the first plank of our agenda. Strengthening that system, unlocking its value chain, and reorienting healthcare as social and national security are the three other dimensions of that agenda.

“I assure you and all Nigerians that the President Tinubu Administration is determined to make the Nigerian healthcare system work for its citizens. We have technology to aid us, and we will not fail”.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, was represented at the event by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Lucian Chukwu.

Prof Chukwu extolled the virtues of the pioneer Provost of the CMUL, late Horatio Oritsejolomi Thomas and described him as one who “Lived a simple life and lived educating people”.

“His legacy of excellent professionalism, dedication, and service is what we are gathered here to celebrate today; and it will interest you to know that, since inception, this lecture has grown a long list of eminent Nigerians who have graced the occasion as Guest Lecturers. One of them is our current President, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. That shows the stature of the man we are gathered to commemorate.

He commended the special Guests of Honours, the Chief of Staff and the Minister of State for Health, for being shining examples of the UNILAG brand and lauded their passion for the development of the institution, and urged them to do more.

For the Provost of the College of Medicine, Prof. David Oke, the late Prof. Horatio Oritsejolomi Thomas was “a Nigerian medical pioneer, who saw ahead of his time by specialising in facial reconstructive and plastic surgery. He mentored many generations of doctors and was a passionate promoter of medical education whose legacy of service stands ever strong”.

The Horatio Oritsejolomi Thomas Memorial Lecture series was inaugurated in June 1983 in remembrance of the First Dean of the University of Lagos Medical School, First Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, and First Chairman of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital Board of Management.

He was born on 31st August 1917 and died on 2nd July 1979.

The lecture is a biennial event of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos. (CMUL).

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