Emmanuel Adekeye, the first professor of dental surgery at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, has bagged a lifetime achievement award for his invaluable services to African patients with maxillofacial deformities.
Mr. Adekeye was also honoured for his academic contributions, and four decades of mentorship on oral and maxillofacial surgery.
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is surgery to treat diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral (mouth) and maxillofacial (jaws and face) region.
Mr. Adekeye received the award at the 2012 Biennial World Cleft Lip and Palate Congress that took place at Mahe, Seychelles.
Three other beneficiaries of the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ are Herman Sailer of Switzerland, Kurt Butow of South Africa and U.S. Nayak of India.
Mr. Adekeye, a University of Edinburgh alumnus, pioneered oral and maxillofacial surgery in northern Nigeria and played a foremost role in the conception and establishment of the surgery department at the ABU Teaching Hospital.
During his 30 years of active service, the professor had over 70 papers published in local and international journals.
He also trained more than 16 Nigerians and Ghanaians as residents in oral and maxillofacial surgery, up to consultant status.
Furthermore, he supervised 20 senior surgeons from Britain on further training in Nigeria and participated in training several generations of medical students in the College of Medicine, ABU.
He was also a visiting professor at the University of Benin.
Mr. Adekeye is the current Chairman of the Advisory/Technical Board of Intercountry Oral Health for Africa, the only research institute on oral health in sub-Saharan Africa.
The professor, who dedicated the award to God, and his wife Esther, said in Abuja that he established the Etomie Specialist Hospital, Kaduna, specifically to deal with oral and maxillofacial deformities.
A notable surgery performed by Mr. Adekeye was recounted by Sheri Jimoh, the mother of a baby who was born with a cleft lip and palate defect.
Mrs. Jimoh stated that two and a half years ago, she gave birth to a baby with a cleft lip and palate defect.
“The doctors assured me it was a repairable defect but several attempts at the teaching hospital failed. We tried at two other places before travelling to London,” she said. “At London, we were able to get the nose in place but still the lip broke down after 40 days of repair.”
Mrs. Jimoh stated that she lost hope after her return to Nigeria as she believed that “what was not possible in London could not be possible in Nigeria.”
“But God has a way of doing things. Someone told us about a doctor in Kaduna and off we went to Etomie Hospital where God made the impossible possible,’’ she said.