The first female Professor of the Department of Biochemistry, University of Ibadan, Professor Oyeronke Adunni Odunola on Thursday delivered the University of Ibadan 468th inaugural lecture amidst mammoth crowd in the Nigeria premier University.
The inaugural lecture titled “THE BIGGER IS THE SADDER: CANCER BURDEN AS A CHALLENGE TO SUSTAINABLE HEALTH” which was delivered at the Lakeside Lecture Theatre, University of Ibadan addressed the reduction to the burden of cancer in the country.In her statement, Professor Odunola said “The burden of cancer is increasing in Africa because of ageing and population growth as well as increased prevalence of risk factors associated with economic transition, climatic change, environmental pollution including in-door and out-door smoking, obesity, physical inactivity and reproductive behaviours”.
“Cancer incidence in sub-Saharan Africa from population ageing alone is projected to increase by 85% in the next fifteen years. It is noteworthy that cancer in Africa is characterised by late presentation, relatively low access to treatment, and poor prognosis. About 80-90% of cases are in an advanced stage at the time of arrival for treatment;
“In Nigeria, Cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths each year with an estimated 102,000 new cases annually. Breast and cervical cancers, being the two (2) most common types of cancers responsible for approximately 50.3% of all cancer cases in Nigeria” the Prof. said.
She noted that cancer mortality incidence is a great burden for Nigeria as compared with other Nations.
She stated further, “In my attempts to contribute to the global efforts geared towards reduction of ‘Cancer Burden for Sustainable Health’, I have aligned with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) resolution to ‘collect high-quality data that will guide cancer policies and plans, and promote cancer research to improve evidence-base for cancer prevention and control’, and the ‘National Cancer Control Plan (2018-2022)’ for Nigeria”.
While appreciating the efforts of the government and the university, she said “I wish to appeal for substantial funding designated specially for state-of-the-art equipment stock for teaching and research. The improvement of infrastructures for basic research and more efficient biomarker validation to reduce the burden of cancer in our society is a matter of urgency”.
Professor Odunola added that sponsored training and re-training of technologists in basic medical sciences and clinical sciences of specialized techniques needed for monitoring and analysis will assist us in this part of the world to reduce cancer burden.
Professor Oyeronke Adunni Odunola, first female Professor of the Department of Biochemistry, University of Ibadan.
The erudite Professor of Biochemistry through her research findings has been able to recommends the importance of natural products and medicinal plants which fights against cancer such as natural honey, Aloe Vera, Bitter Kola, onions, garlic, Nutmeg, West African Black pepper (Iyere), ginger, African Spinach (Efotete), Alligator pepper, Jute (Ewedu), Sodium apple (Bomubomu), Black walnut (Awusa) among others that can help mitigate the negative effect of some carcinogens that may exist in our environment.
The Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan ,Prof Abel Idowu Olayinka who was the chairman at the inaugural lecture described Prof Odunola as a brilliant researcher . “She is a brilliant researcher; we all saw how she excellently delivered the lecture and her great discoveries. She did very well .“ he said.
Prof Abel Idowu Olayinka, Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan
In her statement, “Professor Obafunke O. Denloye, Deputy Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan said “The lecture is an eye opener to those who don’t know anything about cancer because the way she presented, she started with basic biology and to causes of cancers, some complications and some things that we should look out for in terms of diets and so on”.
Speaking further “We called some researches translational, meaning when you do a research, you should be able to tell the public about it. It should affect the lives of the populace and that is what she has done, and it was a success” Prof.Denloye stated.
In his own statement, the Dean, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Ibadan, Professor Samuel B. Olaleye said “We didn’t expect anything less from Professor Odunola. She is one of those we are looking unto, to getting to the zenith even in the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences. When our faculty was called for Inaugural, I didn’t have any objection about her at all going by the fact that she is the next in line in that department, and in the order of arrangement of inaugural lecture in the Faculty, the responsibility fell on the Department of Biochemistry and she happens to be the next in line;“There was no doubt that she was going to deliver a very good inaugural lecture and she has shown this evening that she has mastered that particular area that she loved even from what we heard from the inaugural lecture.
Professor Samuel B. Olaleye, Dean, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Ibadan.
From the undergraduate and postgraduate days, she fell in love with oncology and she got it even helping the society in that particular area” Prof. Olaleye said.
“We have listened to the inaugural lecture delivered today by Professor Oyeronke Odunola of our own Cancer Research and Molecular Biology expert. You can see from the lecture that the lecturer has undergone series of state-of-the-art research.
From the research findings, we have been able to know that several carcinogens such as Aflatoxins B1, arsenic compounds and others are available in our environment which can easily contaminate our food items. There is need for us to actually take natural products as we have learnt the importance of these products such as natural honey, Aloe vera, Bitter Kola that can help to mitigate the negative effect of some carcinogens that may exist in our environment” Professor Oluwatosin A. Adaramoye, Department of Biochemistry, University of Ibadan said.
Professor Adeogun Olubukola Aina said “The topic of the inaugural lecture bordered on one of the major diseases that humans are experiencing a lot in recent times which is the development of cancer and the research to mitigate cancer because the presentations of cancer either in lungs, breast, cervical cancers seem to be on the rise and in developing countries like Nigeria. One of the major challenges is that these diseases are not diagnosed on time and that has being the major reasons for research to see whether there can be alternative method into ameliorating the cancer burdens in humans and that would reduce death from cancer”.
Professor Adeogun Olubukola Aina
“The inaugural lecturer has been able to mentioned some of the indigenous plants that seems to reduce the effect of cancer and this may be a good area where we can make results from scientific research applicable to improve the health of humans” She stated .
The Vice Chancellor, Hallmark University, Itele-Ijebu, Ogun State, Professor Olusegun A.Odunola (Prof. Odunola’s husband) described the Inaugural Lecture as an ‘excellent delivery’ reach of mind, scientific discovery and fantastic results”.
Professor Olusegun A.Odunola (Prof. Odunola’s husband),Vice Chancellor, Hallmark University, Itele-Ijebu, Ogun State.
Meanwhile, Modupeoluwa O. Odunola (Prof. Odunola’s first daughter) said, “I am very proud of her. She did very well. Even though, as a medical doctor that knows most of what she presented, I can say I still learnt a lot from her lecture today”.
Modupeoluwa O. Odunola (Prof. Odunola’s first daughter)
“I’m so excited about my mum’s Inaugural Lecture. My mum has always been so passionate about her academic work and research. She has invested so much in students, her children everywhere and it is so amazing that she has this opportunity to actually defend everything she has ever done for humanity. The lecture was beautiful because I personally learnt a lot and I am so sure a lot of people will have the same testimony. The turnout was great, and she had an awesome delivery. What really touched my heart most was how much people showed their love, concern, helped us out and shared in our joy. I am sure this is a start to something greater in life, Congratulations to you mum” Miss Tolulope Odunola (GMNSE) stated .
Miss Tolulope Odunola (Prof. Odunola’s daughter)
Also, in her own statement, Opeyemi Odunola said “I am excited because it is amazing to see her get to the zenith of her career.She has really talked about what she has done for more than the amount of time that I had been born. I am very happy that she was able to do that with so much distinctions and expertise”.
Opeyemi Odunola (Prof. Odunola’s daughter)
However, Professor Odunola who as a researcher, daughter, mother, and as a wife; advised younger generations to have complete trust in God, focus, believing in oneself, know what they want and pursue it diligently, as it is now the time for her to work harder with her research reports to transform the society.
The 468th inaugural lecture had in attendance the Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan and the Chairman of the Inaugural Lecture, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka , Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, University of Ibadan, Professor K.O Adebowale; Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Prof. A.B Ekanola, Faluyi O.Olubun, Registrar, Prof. Olawale Albert, Professor of African History , Peace and Conflict Studies , Dean of Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Ibadan. Professor Peter Olapegba Prof. Adeogun O. Aina, Deans of Provost of the Postgraduate College, Deans of Faculties and of Students';;;;;;;; Affair, Directors of Institutes, Heads of Departments, Academic Colleagues, Members of St. Teresa’s College Old Students 78/79 Set, LAGELITE ’79, Chaplaincy-Chapel of the Resurrection and Sunday School teachers, Staff of Hallmark University, Itele-Ijebu, Ogun State, YMCA and YWCA of Christ Church Mapo, Families, Friends and well-wishers enlivened the event.