The Faculty of Medicine was one of the first Faculties created when the University College, Ibadan came into being in 1948.
The fundamental problem which faced the Faculty in the early stages of its existence was that of maintaining high standards and securing world-wide recognition. The alignment of the Medical School in special relation with the University of London helped to attract the recognition of the General Medical Council of Great Britain. By this special relationship, medical students of the University College, Ibadan took courses in Medicine leading to the degree of M.B;B.S of the University of London.
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.