“Father of Community Psychiatry in Nigeria”

With much sadness but gratitude to God

On Behalf of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI) Community, 

I announce the passing of

Dr. Akolawole (Kola) Ayonrinde

Who Died on November 8, 2022 in Perth, Western Australia

2nd May 1933 to 8th November 2022

I received notice of the passing of Dr. Akolawole (Kola) Ayonrinde from his son Dr. Oyedeji (Deji) Ayonrinde. Dr Ayonrinde was Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI) and an Honorary Consultant in Psychiatry to the University College Hospital, Ibadan (UCH) before he moved to the Ogun State Health Management Board at the inception of Ogun State. He is described by many psychiatrists as a “Father of Community Psychiatry in Nigeria”. His son has sent an excellent tribute to me which I will share and has also provided us with the tribute website in his honour which we can access and contribute to. Indeed, his legacies live on through the lives he touched. May his family, friends and indeed all who loved him be comforted at this time.

Olayinka Omigbodun

Professor of Psychiatry & Provost

Please read letter from his son:

Dear Prof. Olayinka Omigbodun, Provost,

Attention: Dr. Victor Lasebikan, Head of the Department of Psychiatry 

Re: Death of Dr. Akolawole (Kola) Ayonrinde MBBS DPM FWACP FMCPsych FRANZCP

It is with sadness, pride and gratitude for a life well lived that I write to inform you of the death of my father, Dr. Akolawole (Kola) Ayonrinde, a retired colleague and Consultant Psychiatrist.

Dr. Ayonrinde passed away peacefully with his family by his side in Perth, Western Australia where he had resided for many years. 

Following his medical training in India, Dr. Ayonrinde moved to Australia in 1968 to advance his training in psychiatry after early postgraduate at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.  Dr. Ayonrinde was the first Black African psychiatrist to train and specialize in Australia, working in Ballarat and Melbourne with certification from the University of Melbourne in 1972. He was also the first Black African Fellow of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Dr. Ayonrinde was one of the pioneer psychiatrists in Nigeria, initially working as Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI) and Consultant at the University College Hospital, Ibadan (UCH) in 1973 before taking on an appointment as the inaugural Executive Chairman of the Ogun State Health Management Board at the inception of Ogun State.  Dr. Ayonrinde stayed on to become the Chief Consultant Psychiatrist for Ogun State and Visiting Consultant to Aro Neuropsychiatric Hospital (1984-1990) till his retirement from State service and return to Australia in 1990.  He remained proud of his foundational roots in the Department of Psychiatry, CoMUI/UCH and the lifelong collegiate relationships he had throughout his life.

Dr. Ayonrinde took great pride in the innovative service development establishing the first Community Mental Health Centre working alongside faith and traditional healers in the care of community members with mental disorders. In 1979, while a Consultant to the WHO on Mental Health Legislation, he also participated in a review of mental health legislation in Nigeria.  In recognition of his international expertise in Community Mental Health, Dr. Ayonrinde was requested to carry out a national review with curriculum development for grassroot community mental health delivery by the then Federal Minister for Health, Professor Olikoye Ransome Kuti.  The report and extensive recommendations remain relevant today. 

Within Ogun State he held regular large mental health awareness workshops and also founded the Ogun State Mental Health Society with widespread community engagement. He was a Consultant and Advisor to Ogun State Government on Mental Health Matters from 1979 to 1990.

Inspired by his training in Australia, Dr. Ayonrinde committed his life to the development of community mental health programmes, mental health policy and advocacy in his country of birth, Nigeria and Australia which eventually became his final home. His clinical career spanned several decades from the 1960s till his retirement in Western Australia.


In the 1970s and 1980s he served as a consultant and also as a Visiting Fellow to the World Health Organization (WHO). Dr. Ayonrinde played a very active role as a scholar and medical educator involved in undergraduate, postgraduate and specialist psychiatric training in several universities around the world.  Notably, Dr. Ayonrinde was a very skilful communicator and educator delivering public mental health awareness and enhancing literacy through multiple media channels such as a Yoruba mental health radio programme, development of 11 TV documentaries on mental health in 1982 and numerous print media articles. He was also a prolific author of books on mental health and wellbeing.

Dr. Ayonrinde was a highly respected medical executive and leader with a legacy of developing mental health services in Nigeria and Australia. He also led a number of national commissions on community mental health in Nigeria. 


Following his retirement, Dr. Ayonrinde continued to serve and share wisdom as a community Elder to the African community in Western Australia. Predeceased by his wife and a son, he is survived by sons and their families.


The family would be most honoured if the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan and the University College Hospital which he was one of the pioneer members of and his colleagues were able to formally acknowledge Dr. Ayonrinde's passing.  

Please find below a link to the memorial website.  We welcome contributions from colleagues and associates, should they wish to:

Yours sincerely

Dr. Oyedeji (Deji) Ayonrinde MBBS, MSc, FRCPsych, MBA

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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