Saturday, January 9, 2016


I ought to have posted this blog on 2nd January, 2016, that was my 24th anniversary at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Dala, Kano. Those of us that form that hospital community fondly refer to the hospital simply as ‘Dala’, conveniently neglecting the hill nearby from where that name derives. I will subsequently refer to the hospital simply as Dala.
January, 2nd 1992 was the beginning of my foray into the beautiful and rewarding world of Orthopaedic Surgery. Pilots, aircrews and seafarers can tell you to join their profession if you want to see the world. I dare say, so can Orthopaedic Surgeons. The journey that defines my professional life story can be divided into four segments:
 First was the Pre-Consultant Status, followed by Life as a young consultant, then the Eight years I was privileged to be the Medical Director before the present segment of working  as a clinician who is also former Medical Director.
The first six years of training to become eligible for appointment as a Consultant was quite grueling. It begins with preparation for what is known as ‘primary’ exams. An examination whose title of ‘primary’ befuddles me as a great misnomer, considering the fact that the curriculum, training contact hours and stringency of the examination process clearly surpasses what people in various disciplines go through before being awarded a second degree. The only nomenclature even more absurd than this, is the appellation of “diploma’” to the Fellowship obtained after passing through the entire process that takes an average of seven years. Our surgical forbears that coined these appellations obviously took humility too far. Our colleagues in Nigerian Universities are now paying the price. I will leave that discussion for another day, as it constitutes a digression from my anniversary talk. Suffice it to pose here the question is MBBS one degree or two degrees? Consequently is the so-called Primary equivalent to a masters or some sub-PhD. What does the Part I really equate in ‘normal’ academic terms?
In my own case, the preparation for Primary took me to the department of Anatomy Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, departments of Anatomy and Pathology University of Ibadan and University of Lagos. Lagos and Ibadan were part of structured revision courses preparatory to the exams, while Zaria was like visiting home to make sure that we revised all available histology slides. Preparation was adequate and there was no problem with the so called primary exam which we discovered was in actual fact an examination covering the full curriculum of Anatomy, Physiology and all branches of Pathology.
In paying tribute to a number of people that played significant roles at this stage I end up writing a chapter in the history of Dala. It all started in 1988 while I was President of Ahmadu Bello Medical Students Association (ABUMSA) and late Prof. E. I Mbamali who was the Dean, faculty of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University left that office before completing his term to accept appointment as Medical Director of Dala. That was the first time I heard about Dala. When I was serving as an Intern at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching   Hospital I met a rather colorful registrar in surgery and was informed that he was on posting from Dala. My discussions with him further revealed the reputation of Dala as the place to be, if you love surgery, was not lazy, enjoy working and uphold discipline.  I was infatuated with Dala even before ever sighting the institution. Ever heard of “Love before sighting?”
I thus decided to play my former dean a visit, and the rest is just fine details of history! Part of that history is the fact that Prof. it was that counseled me to accept to serve anywhere I was posted for the National Youth Service (NYSC) in order to broaden my horizon before delving into residency training. I was otherwise eager to work my posting to Dala so that I could pursue my love life with surgery immediately commencing with the NYSC year. I had made up my mind that career wise it was surgery or nothing. I therefor remain grateful to Prof. not only for offering me the training post at Dala but for encouraging me not to miss all the learning, work, fun, networking and friendship that was my lot for serving at the Military Hospital, Benin City, while doing part time at the prestigious Benoni Hospital and the ever busy Lella specialist hospital.
 The defacto clinical engine house when I reported to Dala was Dr Ehi Ojesebholo, a man of many parts. His very light skin complexion and inability to master the local language made it easy for patients to describe him.  Dr Chavan (an Indian national, later of Accord Surgery fame) was still with us at the time before he left for Fuga.
Dr. Wahab Yinusa was a fresh Consultant brought down from National Orthopaedic Hospital Igbobi to help out because Dala had just suffered a significant brain drain out to greener pastures. Drs Bashir Ighile and Dipo Olabumuyi had left shortly before I joined. I was to hear their names mentioned fondly almost on a daily basis by Dr Oche when he (Oche) returned from National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu as a Senior Resident. Dr. Yinusa and I were to later work very closely as fellow Medical Directors and as leaders of the Nigerian chapter of Societe Internationale Chirurgie Orthopaedique et de Traumatologie (SICOT), the International Society of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeons in a friendship that blasted the age barrier and has endured till today.

The only ever full time Consultant radiologist to work for Dala till date, Dr Emecheta  who served as head of RET later drained to the Middle East.
The clinical work was complemented by a number of experienced hands that however gave up on the fellowship training examinations but contributed indelibly to our training at the foundation stage. The “Chief” in this category is Dr Garuba who later left for full time private practice and Dr Owan who later joined the CBN clinic. Five of us from the trainees of that era remain with Dala today, Nkanta, Isa and myself are now Consultant Special Grade I or Chief Consultants, while Dr Abdallah changed path to specialize in Anaesthesia and is the second Dala trained anaesthetist after Dr Said Babayo who is still a visiting Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. Some of those that left at various stages and for different reasons include Abolarin, Aigoro, Ogirima, Ali, and a few others. Abolarin has settled in Canada and recently joined us when Isa’s daughter wedded. Aigoro transferred to UCH Ibadan to complete his training and is currently a Permanent Secretary. Ogirima left for Jos and is now Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at ABU. He also has enjoyed the singular privilege to serve on the governing board of NOHD as an NMA nominated rep while I was the Medical Director. I was the youngest in that pack, and virtually stood alone as there was no other employment a year before me and for almost two years after. The training at Dala Orthopaedic differs significantly from the conventional teaching hospitals because, as junior resident two or more years after graduation, you do not have the luxury of house officers. As it is, you have to soil your hand for everything, not quite palatable at the time, but strong foundation for skills, practical experience and the ability to swim out of even the stormiest surgical scenarios. In retrospect, you also develop human relations skills because you had to relate well with every member of the hospital community to get things done. How you produce results and solutions was your own headache. We were never at war with nurses or any other group; in fact some of the present associations were yet to be formed. I remember that at a later stage in my training, while I was President of Association of Resident Doctors, National Orthopaedic Hospital, we decided not to join the newly formed “JAC”, an acronym for Joint Action Committee.
This phase was concluded when I passed the primary fellowship examination in October 1992 and effectively transformed from a Senior House Officer as we were then called, to a registrar in surgery. Thus began what we call Part 1 rotations.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Welcome to Ansar Orthopaedic.

You are welcome to Ansar Orthopaedic Blog Spot.
The aim is to communicate with patients who stand to benefit from the available services. Ansar Orthopaedic Hospital was founded in 1999 and has offered Orthopaedic Solutions to hundreds of patients. It is now moving from its first location to 91 Gandu New Layout, Gandun Albasa, Kano. The property used to house Wondic Surgery established by DR Chief Osad Osamwunyi.