Babcock University Opens Medical School
Anew Seventh-day Adventist school of medicine in Nigeria is the denomination’s first in Africa.
The Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., School of Medicine and Babcock University Teaching Hospitalwas inaugurated in June during commencement services at church-owned Babcock University(BU) in Lagos, Nigeria.
AT DEDICATION CEREMONY—Dr. Ben Carson, left, and his wife, Candy, at dedication ceremonies for The Benjamin S. Carson School of Medicine and Babcock University Teaching Hospital outside of Lagos, Nigeria.Adventist education and health ministries officials say the new school signals a growing commitment by Africans to build self-sufficiency in addressing the sweeping public health challenges faced on the continent.
The launch of a medical school in Nigeria, while not an immediate fix, is “a clear start” toward a “health-care delivery system yet unrivaled in Africa,” said BU president James Makinde.
The School of Medicine operates out of Babcock University College of Health and Medical Sciences, which also includes Schools of Nursing and Public Health. Administrators say Schools of Pharmacy and Dentistry are on the horizon. The school is accredited to grant a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.) degree, the first professional degree a medical student can earn studying at a university that follows the British model of post-secondary education.
The 37 students currently enrolled in the M.B.B.S. program have been studying since January, when Babcock University administrators first requested a public inauguration for the fledgling medical school. But at the time, the official launch was prevented by yet unmet accreditation requirements and unrest after the Nigerian government lifted a gas subsidy, said Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, Education Department director for the Adventist world church.
“We needed to verify that [accrediting] conditions had been met. They have now been substantially met,” Beardsley-Hardy said. The infrastructure for the medical school is now nearly complete, she added.
Education Department officials worked closely with the world church’s Health Ministries Department to set benchmarks for the medical school.
Health Ministries Department director Allan Handysides, who has supported medical mission work in Africa for decades, echoed Beardsley-Hardy’s endorsement.
“I have seldom seen such remarkable progress in such short time at any of our other institutions. The team at Babcock has taken the suggestions and guidance given seriously, and the result is outstanding,” Handysides said.
Chairing the proceedings was Iheanyichukwu Okoro, BU senior vice president and provost of the College of Health and Medical Sciences, where the School of Medicine resides. Conspicuous among the assembled guests, and honoring the assembly with words of commendation and a commitment to continued partnership, was Kabiyesi Oba Michael Olufemi Mojeed Sonuga, king of Ilishan, the one who donated the land on which the medical school now stands.
Presenting the full endorsement of Nigeria’s National Universities Commission for BU’s new undertaking was Julius Okojie, executive secretary of the commission. His affirmation was illustrative of BU’s excellent relationship and close cooperation with its various publics, further indicated by greetings received from the chair of county local government Femi Adeniyi, the presence of the permanent secretary for the minister of labor and productivity Chief Wogu, as well as representatives of other state and private universities from around the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all across the African continent.
—reported by Lael Caesar, Adventist World associate editor, and Elizabeth Lechleitner and Ansel Oliver, Adventist News Network