In choosing a site for the University College, it had been decided that there should be only one campus on which all faculties should be built. The choice of Ibadan as the University town had the obvious drawback, in the early days as there was no hospital of high enough standard to be used as a Teaching Hospital. Pre-medical courses in Chemistry, Physics and Biology were, as they are, taught in the Faculty of Science. The pre-clinical departments teaching Anatomy and Physiology, were housed in the Old Yaba Medical School in Lagos until 1950 when the dissection rooms and laboratories for these courses were built in Ibadan. Thus pre-clinical courses started, having been given recognition by London University in 1948.

In anticipation of the clinical training which would have to be given to the pre-clinical students who had started their courses, the College had to make plans for the running of a teaching hospital. In 1948, the College became responsible for the administration of Adeoyo Hospital, a hospital which had up till then been run by the City Council of Ibadan (the so called “Native Administration”) and the Government-controlled Jericho Hospital. It was obvious from the beginning that the facilities in the two hospitals would not be adequate for the clinical training of medical students. The Faculty, therefore, made alternative arrangements for the clinical training of its medical students who were sent overseas until clinical courses could start in a new Teaching Hospital.

The first projected scheme for a permanent hospital had been that a large 800-bed hospital should be built on a permanent site of the College. This was rejected as being too costly, and an alternative decision was taken in 1949, in which the University of London acquiesced that the temporary site of the College should be converted into a teaching hospital as soon as the other Faculties of the College moved to the new site. Until early in 1951 this decision governed policy and expectations. Meanwhile work was carried on at Yaba and at the Jericho and Adeoyo Hospitals on the assumption that the latter would serve for clinical training for a short period.

In August 1951, the Government assumed full and direct responsibility for the provision of an entirely new teaching hospital. Efforts were immediately made to implement this decision in the shortest time possible. A special Ad hoc Co-ordinating Committee, representing the interests of all the parties concerned with  the projected new hospital, was formed in London in the autumn of 1951 by London University at the invitation of the College Council.

In February 1952, important discussions, attended by representatives of the College and directly affecting its policy in relation to the Faculty of Medicine, took  place in London. At these  discussions, it was decided that in the period required to plan, build and bring the projected new hospital into active operations, medical students should continue to go overseas for their clinical training, with the co-operation of Universities in Great Britain. Ninety-five students of the University College  Ibadan qualified by this arrangement.

The first group of students who proceeded overseas for their clinical training in 1950 graduated in 1954.   A number of students who had already advanced in their clinical training following courses given at Yaba, continued training under the College for the Diploma or Licentiate of Medicine and Surgery, entitling them to practice in Nigeria. Arrangements were made for them and for other former Yaba graduates to study, if they wished, for the Conjoint Board in London to obtain a qualification registrable with the General Medical Council, and the majority who did so qualify as the years passed.

A new 500-bed hospital some four miles from the University College Ibadan, was planned. In this circumstance, every effort was made to complete the new hospital and to provide adequate staffing and facilities by 1956. The choice of the site was dictated by the practical need to make it easily accessible to the people of Ibadan.

With the statutory establishment of a Board of Management (on which the Faculty was represented), the first meeting of which was held in June 1953, the scheme progressed more rapidly than was expected. Clinical teaching at Ibadan commenced on 7th October, 1957, the same year in which the University Teaching Hospital, built partly for the purpose of training of medical personnel locally, was formally opened. The Hospital was opened by the Princess Royal specifically on 20th November, 1957, and in 1960 the first thirteen medical graduates wholly trained in Ibadan became qualified.

Between 1960 and 1966, 251 more graduates qualified at the Ibadan Medical School although their certificates bear the “M.B;B.S Degree of the University of London”. However, since 1967 to date 6,909 more graduands have qualified and received the degree of M.B;B.S (Ibadan); in the same vein the school had trained 1,180 Nursing graduates since 1968, 694 Physiotherapy graduate since 1969, 621 BDS graduates since 1980, 583 Human Nutrition graduates since 1982, 870 Biochemistry graduates and 298 Physiology graduates since 1986.

Several among these products of Ibadan are today on the teaching staff of other medical schools in Nigeria and other Commonwealth countries. In fact the unrivalled contribution of the Ibadan Medical College to the training of health personnel in Nigeria is underlined by the fact that today one out of every five Nigerian doctors, and three out of every five Physiotherapists are products of the College.

In December 1962, the Federal Parliament passed a bill for an Act to establish the University of Ibadan. On 27th of December, 1962, when the Governor-General gave his assent to the Bill, the University became an autonomous institution, and the Medical School curriculum was then changed so that our medical students would be trained better for the Nigerian environment in which they would practice. After twelve years the curriculum was further revised to remove most of the previous drawbacks. The current curriculum came into operation in the 1974/75 academic session.

The demand for places in the medical school has been great and the standard of entrants accepted by the University is high. For several sessions running and due to limited facilities, the College has not been able to offer admission to more than one in twenty of the available qualified applicants.


Evolution of  the College of  Medicine

Medicine has been the flagship discipline of the University of Ibadan since its inception.  Evidence for this has been provided earlier that the ability of the town to provide the number and variety of cases needed by the premier medical school in West Africa that was to be charged with training African doctors for Africa contributed to its being selected over rival cities.  This was because, at the time of establishing the universities little was known about the epidemiology of diseases amongst Africans as orthodox medical care was largely unavailable to the native population.  What little care was given was provided by the few General Hospitals for indigenes, natives and missionary health centres (such as Baptist Medical Centre, Ogbomoso), and even fewer private (UK-trained) practitioners (essentially in other big cities) such as Sir Kofo Abayomi (in Lagos), and A.S. Agbaje (in Ibadan).  Of necessity, these facilities simply provided what care they could and did little or no training and definitely no research.  The Ibadan Medical School was therefore established to carry out both research and training in the medical sciences as well as provide tertiary care to the standard that was available in the United Kingdom, and to do so for the whole of West Africa.  It was for this reason the training (of medical assistants) at the Yaba Medical College was considered inadequate for the new purpose.

The determination of the founders to achieve their plans for the Medical School was graphically exercised in their advertisement of seven out of the first twelve professorships for UCI in 1947 in the following areas – Surgery, Medicine, Public Health, Pathology, Physiology, Anatomy and Gynaecology – along with others in English, History, Zoology, Botany and Geography.  In keeping with this, the first senior academic appointment to be made by the University (after the appointment of D. Mellanby as Principal) was that of Professor Beatrice Joly in March 1948 as the foundation Head of the Department of Surgery and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.  Further senior appointments were added quickly and by 1949, the five foundation Professors in the departments considered most essential to the commencement of the Medical School, and thus indicative of its primary academic orientation, were on ground.  These were, in order of appointment, John Parsons (Physiology; September 1948), Alexander Brown (Medicine; October 1948), Oladele Ajose (Preventive and Social Medicine; later 1948, after Professor Brown) who had the distinction of being the first African Professor, of not just of his discipline, but also to be appointed by the University, and Alastair Smith (Anatomy; October 1949).  Beside the appointments of these Professors, the University spared no expense in establishing an excellent Faculty of Medicine by appointing the large number of academic and non-academic staff and acquiring the facilities required by such an institution.  Furthermore, there were important early collaborative efforts between the medical academic staff and their colleagues in other Faculties such as Science, Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine which expanded the pool of intellectual input into all the Faculties and resulted in many major advances in science and learning across board.  Indeed, such has been the commitment of Ibadan to its Medical School that it (the School) has always been responsible for one-third of the University both in terms of staff and faculties since the establishment of the institution till date.  Indeed Neurosciences was one of the three areas of excellence selected by Kenneth Dike.

It is also worthy of note that the Faculty of Medicine was the first to start postgraduate training.  It achieved this distinction by admitting the first postgraduate student mentioned earlier of the university (into the Department of Surgery) on 20th November 1948 (i.e. 9 months after the formal opening of the university), which interview Dr. Mellanby personally attended (Appendix II).  This act was predictive of the Medical School’s future commitment to, and success in the advancement of science and learning.

In the 1977/78 session the then Federal Military Government designated our Faculty of Medicine as a Centre of Excellence in Medicine amongst Nigerian Universities. Senate and Council of the University of Ibadan warmly welcomed this designation and requested the Faculty to put up proposals which would enhance and promote its evolution into the status of a College of Medicine. These proposals were approved, in principle, by both Senate and Council and forwarded to the National Universities Commission (NUC). The NUC subsequently communicated its approval to the University, following which the Development Committee of Senate and its Finance Sub-Committee worked out the financial implications involved in the new administrative structure.

Conscious of the need to facilitate and consolidate the development of our Centre of Excellence and realising that the administrative structure and constraints of Faculty status would not foster the rapid development of essential national medical objectives expected of the largest and oldest Medical school in this country, Council of the University of Ibadan took decisive steps to restructure the Faculty of Medicine into a College of Medicine with effect from 1st of August 1980. In accordance with the power conferred on the council under the University of Ibadan Act section 4, Sub-sections 2 and 3. Council, at its meeting of Saturday 21 June, 1980 approved the regulations establishing the College and appointed Professor E. Oluwole Akande, the then Dean of the Faculty of Medicine as the first Provost of the College.

Senate Committee set up to review the regulations establishing the College came up with well articulated objectives of a collegiate system to guide faculties or combinations of faculties intending to adopt the system in the future. These objectives, subsequently approved by Senate were stated as follows:

(a)   The adoption of a collegiate system for the whole or part of the University should be seen as a device for achieving effective decentralisation of operations, devolution of powers and delegation of authority and responsibility.

(b)   The system should also be seen as a mechanism for eventually minimising the input of resources into and accelerating the process of decision-making and implementation.

(c)    The system should be used to facilitate the enhancement of the image of the University of Ibadan as a centre of excellence by providing a well-articulated institutional framework for the vigorous pursuit of the academic objectives of the University,

(d)    The system should further be seen as a means for achieving much greater co-ordination and cross-fertilisation of related disciplines.

(e)    The system should be a major aid for the better assessment of resource requirements of the University and the resultant output.

(f)    The system should be used as a device for coping with the current and anticipated expansion of the scale of operations of the University without compromising the quality of its output.

(g)    Although the establishment of the College may lead initially to the creation of new offices, this should not be seen as an end in itself but as a necessary means for the eventual attainment of effective decentralisation, devolution of powers and delegation of functions and responsibilities.

In accordance with the regulations governing the College of Medicine, two foundation Faculties, namely Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences and Pharmacy, and Faculty of Clinical Sciences and Dentistry, each headed by a Dean, as well as a Postgraduate Institute for Medical Research and Training, headed by a Director, were established.

At the beginning of the 1982/83 session, Senate approved the establishment of a Faculty of Pharmacy within the College with effect from 1 August, 1983. The following Departments were  administratively within the new Faculty:

(i)     Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry

(ii)    Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Clinical Pharmacy

(iii)    Department of Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy.

(iv)   Department of Pharmacognosy.

However, the Faculty of Pharmacy became autonomous with effect from 2nd October, 2002.

In December 2001, the Faculty of Public Health was created,comprising the three sub-departments that had earlier been created from the Department of  Preventive and Social Medicne. The Department of Human Nutrition, which had hitherto been in the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, was transfered to the new Faculty.  In March 2002, the Facultyof Dentistry was created out of the Faculty of Clinical Sciences and Dentistry which was the largest faculty in the University prior to the division.


(S. I. of 1984)