Professor Adetotunbo Fabamwo, the Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, is undoubtedly, a shining light in the field of medicine in Nigeria and Lagos state in particular. The Obstetrician and Gynecologist specialist, Fabamwo, is a medical colossus walking through the Nigeria’s health sector, particularly Lagos state, with indelible marks. His contributions in the reduction of maternal mortality stand him out as an O&G guru.
In an exclusive interview with Citizen Comfort, the professor of medicine opened up on his career path.. According to him, his foray into the field of medicine started from secondary school, Government College Ibadan. A school known majorly at the time for sciences. The desire to become a medical doctor germinated right from the school. And he pursued the dream after leaving the school. Fabamwo was one of the first set of University of Ife medical students, 1971 to 1978.
Doctor Fabamwo, after medical school, did internship at the University College Hospital Ibadan. He went to Airforce Medical Centre Kaduna for the one-year national youth service.
It was during his sojourn in Kaduna that he changed his mind from been a general practice doctor to a specialist in O&G after a chance meeting with one Dr Onuola Adewumi, a consultant O&G with UCH in 1979.
After youth service, a determined Fabamwo returned to UCH for post graduate program in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Before he completed his post graduate program in 1986, he had travelled to Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, the largest maternity hospital in the world, with 20000 deliveries a year, where his passion for O&G was reignited.
After completing the post graduate program, Dr Fabamwo came to Lagos to pursue his career, got engaged as Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist by the Lagos state Government 1986. Dr Fabamwo worked with great zeal and vigour from the date of his engagement with Lagos State Government. He impacted positively on the maternity services in the Lagos State Hospitals including General Hospital Ikeja and General Hospital Badagry.
He was one of the pioneer consultants at the one of the biggest maternity facility in Lagos state, the new Ayinke House. Prof Fabamwo became the medical director of the new Ayinke House in 1993.
The Birth of LASUTH
Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo is a renown O&G specialist, whose works were really appreciated by the Lagos State Government. He is the first to be appointed twice as Medical Director of the Ayinke House, a record set in 1999.
It was during his second term tenure as Medical Director, Ayinke House that the idea of LASUTH came up. Fabamwo became the pioneer Director of Clinical Services and Training of LASUTH in 2001. He, together with Doctor Femi Olugbile who was the Pioneer Chief medical Director, Doctors Leke Pitan, Jide Idis formed the quartet ‘architects’ of LASUTH. Dr Adetokunbo Fabamwo, in 2005, transferred from medical career to academic medical career, with Senior Lecturer position.
In 2007, he became Dean of Faculty of Clinical Sciences of the College of Medicine. And between 2008 and 2013, he became a Professor in the college of medicine.
Prof Fabamwo, through a competitive process, became Chief Medical director of LASUTH for a 4-year tenure in January 2019.
While answering questions on his functions as the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, Prof. Fabamwo said his current role as chief medical director of LASUTH diffes from his role as Medical director, Ayinke House. At Ayinke house, he said “life was very easy. I had a grasp of my work, I had a grasp of the finances. I knew what to do to make things work. So, it was a bit easier for me to run Ayike House. But running LASUTH is a bigger challenge, a bigger job. Also, I now have a governing board to answer to.
However, he needed to run an efficient administration at LASUTH to make things work and life easier. To do this, he gives the office of the Director of Clinical Services and Training the free hand to run the directorate. According to him, this administrative strategy has helped in no small way to enable him do the final parts of his work as the Chief Medical Director. It has helped him to network at higher levels for the upgrade and improvement of the hospital. it has helped him make good connections with people in Alausa. And It’s helping him to actualize the LASUTH’s dreams and aspirations.
A commitment to produce well-trained Doctors
Amongst the LASUTH’s dreams and aspiration is to produce well-trained doctors. Prof. Fabamwo, is pivotal to the realization of this dream. “Yes I have been practicing medicine for 42 years, and I have been teaching medicine all along. I have a passion for producing excellent doctors. I have always known that we who were well trained would not be there forever. We owe the society an obligation to ensure the future generations of doctors are also well trained. As a lecturer I had always held on to that and my students know me. I seek perfection and excellent from every one of them all the time”.
The challenges to actualizing this dream, according to Fabamwo, include lecturers poor pay and poor motivation . However, he added that medical lectures have always soar higher over and above their colleague’s in their commitment to work. “Don’t forget medical lecturers are also practicing medicine. There is no way how you will teach your students without showing them how you are going to run your clinics, how you are going to do ward rounds, how you carry on in the theater and so on and so forth.” Medical lecturers according to him, are working more than the non-medical lecturers.
To flourish, in terms of research in the university system, you must publish. In the case of LASUTH’s College of Medicine, the beginning was a little slow. Fabmwo said LASUTH didn’t start with recruitment of lecturers. Rather, he said, it started with transfer of service of people working in the general hospital to the college of medicine.
Prof. Fabamwo played a pivotal role in encouraging many of the consultants to transfer. He was able to convince many of the consultants that the future is in an academic career. A lot of them that crossed over didn’t regret it. Many of them are great professors now. Adding that “Though, the beginning was slow, a lot of them were just learning the rope, how would they do research. It was a little slow for them to catch up and start conducting researches but eventually they did. Despite our fears at the beginning, a lot of them are flourishing now.”
While enumerating the importance of medical research in the College of Medicine, Prof. Fabamwo said there is no dearth of research materials in LASUTH. “If you want to carry out a research in a particular disease you have plenty of patients to work on”. The only challenge according to him is in the translation of research to application. Adding that a lot of research and recommendations about reducing maternal mortality has been made. But, despite, the figures of maternal mortality are still unacceptable.
Interventions in the Reduction of Maternal Mortality
Prof. Fabamwo is an erudite scholar who specializes in O&G but very passionate in the reductions of maternal mortality. No wonder many of his research works center around reduction of maternal mortality.
The first work in this area is anti-shock garment. This is a garment that reduces bleeding of delivered women. It’s a garment you wear for bleeding delivered women to stop the bleeding until help arrives. The garment will push blood up through the upper parts of the body where we have the lungs and the heart as well as the brain. So that the women remain conscious while you are making arrangements to get blood to transfuse them with, or to transport them to where they can get help.
Professor Fabamwo said “I, together with some of my colleagues were in the fore front in the testing and the use of the garment in Nigeria and especially in Lagos.” Adding that there is no Lagos state maternity unit that does not have the garment for use, and it has helped in saving lives of women who would have died after child birth because of bleeding
There is also another lifesaving intervention that the LASUTH boss also played a pivotal factor in the testing and application. The magnesium sulphate. Prof. Fabamwo asserted that it is a medication for women either who have very high blood pressure or high blood pressure and convulsions before or after delivery. The medication, he said, was very effective in controlling blood pressure as well as preventing convulsions
Another lifesaving intervention is misoprostol. It’s a lifesaving drug that can reduce bleeding after child birth. Prof. Fabamwo together with some Colleagues participated in the testing of the use of the drug to stop bleeding to save lives.
We can turn brain drain to brain gain. Keep a date with us for another exclusive interview with Prof Adetokunbo Fabamwo Thursday 3, December 2020.