Dr. Rotimi S. AJANI
Ag. Departmental Head
Department of Anatomy
The Department of Anatomy was one of the foundation departments of the University of Ibadan. In its nearly six decades of existence, it has played an indispensable role in manpower development for health and related fields in Nigeria. In the first two decades, the Department served mostly as a teaching department, with little emphasis on research.
The late Professor I. A. Grillo was appointed to the Faculty in the early sixties, and began to lay the foundation for research. Ibadan soon became famous for its seminal research work in developmental biology and histochemistry, producing leaders for the Departments of Anatomy in many medical schools that were later established in Nigeria. The Department was generously funded by internal and external sources for equipment such electron microscope donated by the Japanese Government through the office of the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, ultracentrifuges and radio-isotope laboratory. It held a promise to be a foremost research centre for human structural and cell biology.
It was vibrant with teaching and research activities until the mid-70s when funding for research dried up. Furthermore, in 1973, there was a sudden increase in the size of the students’ intake into the MBBS course, further stressing the already precarious staffing position in the department. Over the last three decades, the teaching load in the department has escalated with the addition of dentistry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, nursing and human nutrition to the list of courses in the medical school and the need to meet their curriculum requirement for anatomy. The Departmental facilities were severely stretched in the period between 1995 and 2000 when the University exceeded it carrying capacity for students.
In 1998, the Department commenced a formal MSc programme. As a result of a special University policy to attract medically qualified lecturers to the basic sciences, the academic staff strength rose from 14 to 18 between 2000 and 2013. Paradoxically, a significant proportion of the recruited young faculty resigned, after obtaining their Masters in the Department, to pursue PhD training elsewhere, largely because research infrastructure in Anatomy was inadequate and staff development funds were unavailable.