UniJos Holds its 90th Inaugural Lecture

The University of Jos held its 90th inaugural lecture at the Multipurpose Auditorium of the Bauchi Road Campus on Tuesday, 22nd October, 2019, just two weeks after the 89th inaugural lecture of the University that was held on the 8th of October.

The 90th in the series of the inaugural lecture of the University of Jos was the inaugural lecture of Prof. Innocent Ujah, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the college of medical sciences which was titled, “NAVIGATING LANDMINES: THE TRAVAILS OF MOTHERHOOD IN NIGERIA”.

The inaugural lecture which had the Auditorium packed full and spilling with people from all walks of life – staff, students, journalist and photographers from NTA, Channels TV and other media including others affiliated with the University in one way or the other was a very inspiring lecture; and even though the ceremony may have come and gone, its life changing lessons will not be easily forgotten and will continue to resonate in the minds of the attendees and all those who came in contact with the lecture book that was sold during the ceremony.

Prior to Prof. Innocent Ujah’s lecture, he was lauded in the opening remarks as a man who has indeed ‘touched the sky.’ His educational background, working experience, administrative experience, membership of associations/societies, community service, family, hobbies and awards/honours were duly mentioned to the audience of the ceremony before he was welcomed for his speech. Prof. Innocent Ujah is a recipient of many honours/awards and have held many administrative and other big positions before he was appointed as a Professor.

The lecture focused on how motherhood could be navigated safely. It was well delivered with aplomb via the aid of a PowerPoint slide on a projector that was remote controlled by the inaugural lecturer. The professor talked on many key issues in line with the title of his lecture. The lecture basically centred on maternal mortality and the importance of maternal health.

Prof. Innocent Ujah gave the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of maternal mortality during the beginning of his lecture. According to him, the WHO defines maternal mortality as “the death of a woman while pregnant, or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (from direct or indirect obstetrics death), but not from accidental or incidental causes.”

In continuing his lecture, he stressed that maternal health is a sensitive indicator of the social and economic development of any nation and that maternal mortality is one of the gravest human rights violations. According to him, the disparity in deaths between developed and developing countries is greater for maternal mortality than for any other global health problem. “Preventing and reporting the thousands of unnecessary and avoidable maternal deaths in developing world should be a priority” he said. To him, maternal mortality is not only a health issue but also a social and economic issue.

He further explained the causes of maternal deaths, saying that Hemorrhage remains the leading cause of maternal mortality. For most of the time during his lecture, he talked about the issue of maternal health, explaining sub-topics like the historical trend in maternal mortality rates, maternal mortality in developing countries of the world, maternal mortality in developed countries, factors that contributed to the reduction of maternal mortality rate in the United Kingdom, lifetime risks of maternal death, the obstacles to the progress of the millennium development goals (MDGs) and a host of other issues.

Towards the end of his lecture, he expressed his dismay towards the inequality women suffer, especially the inequality in accessing maternal healthcare services and also, female genital mutilation. He emphasized the need for women to be more respected and even treated as equals with men. One powerful and ‘worthy of remembrance’ statement he made to support his point was that “women have a right to life when they are giving us new life.”

Another powerful statement he made can be found in his lecture book where he quoted Mahmoud Fathalla who said, “Mothers are not dying because of conditions we cannot treat. They are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving.” In the concluding part of the lecture, he made some recommendations on how the landmines navigated for motherhood can be made safer in Nigeria.

He concluded his lecture by appreciating the management of the University, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Sebastian Maimako who supported and gave the invitation for the lecture, the members of staff from the College of Medical Sciences, his wife and the attendees for making the ceremony a huge success.

As he ended his lecture and made his way back to his seat, the attendees gave him a voluntary standing ovation. An award/accolade of honour sent by the VC was presented to him towards the end of the event. After the closing prayer, the ceremony came to an end and everyone dispersed, beginning with those in the academic robe – the inaugural lecturer and other professors from the College of Medical Sciences to other people like lecturers and students present.

The lecture was attended by the members of the University community, as well as professional colleagues, friends, the wife of Prof. Innocent Ujah, Mrs. Francisca Oyibo Ujah and all the professors from the college of medical sciences. The inaugural lecturer and all the dignitaries (professors) from the college of medical sciences all appeared in their academic robe – a gown for the inaugural lecture that differentiates them from others present at the event. Though the Vice Chancellor was absent, he was aptly represented.

Prof. Innocent Ujah is a Professor from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medical Sciences, University of Jos. He is also a consultant obstetrician and a gynaecological surgeon.

Report by Michael Stephen
Edited by JM (4/5)

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