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)