History was made at the 21st annual general meeting and scientific conference of the Association of Paediatric Surgeons of Nigeria (APSON) as Professor Roland Iheanyichukwu Osuoji was elected the 6th president of this elite professional association.
This year’s Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference was held at the American University in Nigeria International Hotel, Conference and Spa in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria from September 26-30, 2022.
Prof. Osuoji, an honorary consultant paediatric surgeon with Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and a professor of surgery with Lagos State University (LASU) will succeed Prof. Auwal M. Abubakar who served for two terms; from 2018 -2022.
In his acceptance speech, the newly elected president showered glowing praises on his predecessor, who is also the chief medical director of the Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital Yola and chairman, committee of chief medical directors of Nigerian Teaching Hospitals.
Osuoji noted that Auwal Abubakar and his executives have made huge impacts to APSON, both in their service to the Association and in the advocacy for Nigerian Children requiring surgical cares.
He promised to build on the gains made in the past years by the previous leaders; to strengthen the Association; and exploring ways for the delivery of optimal care to children with surgical needs in Nigeria.
APSON was formed in 2001, and had her inaugural meeting in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital(LUTH), Idi-Araba, with Emeritus-Professor Nene Agugua-Obianyo, as the first President.
APSON has over the years been at the forefront of delivering top notch specialist surgical services to children in the country. Some of their exploits and feats include, but not limited to successful separation of Conjoint twins which was first conducted in the country by indigenous Nigerian Surgeons at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, in January, 1988.
The children are still alive and well after 34 years of follow-up. So far, many of such feats have been repeated at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and National Hospital Abuja.
They have also been engaged in delivering free rural surgical outreaches to children in the underserved areas. The most recent of these was held in Ganye Local Government Area of Adamawa state from September 23-25, 2022, where a team of paediatric surgeons and other health care professionals conducted over 70 days case operations on such children.
Beside surgical services, members the Association have been involved in training of medical students and postgraduate students.
For the postgraduate students, they organise update courses , seminars and mentorship programmes and these efforts have helped in no small measure to produce top notch paediatric surgeons in the country.
But despite all this landmark achievements, more has to be done, given that with a population of 200 million people, and children constituting well over 25 percent of this number, there are only 130 Paediatric surgeons in Nigeria, although some have migrated overseas.
Over the years, APSON has been driving research and innovations in Child surgery in Nigeria and West Africa. With their highly rated and flagship journal called African Journal of Paediatric Surgery, they have sought to disseminate information via peer reviewed articles and commentaries.