By Monday Ogar
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The family of Okuku Emeritus Professor Akpan Asuquo Otu have donated Nigeria’s first medical simulation lab to the University of Calabar in a ceremony that was held inside the school’s campus in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The family said the donation of the Okuku Emeritus Professor Akpan Asuquo Otu Medical-Surgical Skills Center, was made in memory of their patriarch who joined the service of the University of Calabar as the first indigenous surgeon.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Obal Otu, wife to Emeritus Professor, said the donation is the family’s contribution to the growth of the medical profession in the State and as a token of appreciation for what UNICAL means to their patriarch.
She said the “project will help medical students learn surgical skills so that when they become doctors they will be able to carry out operations safely. These are basic skills and if you don’t learn them from the beginning you will grow up not being a safe doctor.”
She said the facility will be used to teach doctors and future doctors “how to suction wounds, how to incise abscesses, how to tie knots and so on.”
Dr. Otu added that the family will continue to collaborate with the school to ensure the maintenance and maximum utilization of the facility.
Also speaking, Dr. Akaninyene Otu, son of Emeritus Professor, said the project was in furtherance of their father’s belief in the push and pursuit for new knowledge.
“My late father was a skilled surgeon, an astute academician, and above all, a passionate teacher. In selecting a befitting project in his memory, his family recognized that the project would have to be centered around the dissemination of medical knowledge and skills.
“Simulation-based medical education refers to educational activity that utilizes simulation aides to replicate clinical scenarios thereby promoting experiential learning. Medical simulation allows the acquisition of clinical skills through deliberate practice and simulation tools serve as an alternative to real patients. By adopting simulation, a medical trainee can make mistakes and learn from them without the fear of harming the patient.
“With these facts in mind, our family decided to execute a unique project to promote the acquisition of surgical skills among undergraduate medical students in UNICAL and provide them with a firm foundation upon which their medical careers could be built.” He said.
Earlier speaking, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Florence Obi thanked the family for the donation and praised them for following in the steps of their patriarch “who contributed hugely to the growth of UNICAL and was regarded by all who knew him as a guru.”
The VC promised that the facility will be put to good use in the training of doctors and that when the curriculum that caters to the uniqueness of the course is brought before the school’s senate, it will be given accelerated attention.
The Center will be administered by the Department of Surgery in the Faculty of Medicine, with allied surgical specialties such as orthopedics, ophthalmology, obstetrics, and gynecology being provided free access to train their resident doctors on basic surgical skills.
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