Special Birthday Greetings from the Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan
Today, Friday 29 December 2023, I celebrate my teacher Professor Adefunke Oyemade nee Adedipe as she turns 90 years old. What a great privilege to write a few words in honour of a Living Legend of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI). Professor Oyemade was a great teacher who taught us Preventive and Social Medicine in medical school. She was strict and firm and at the same time motherly and approachable. She always dressed very smart and carried herself with poise and class and as young ladies in medical school, we looked up to her as a role model.
Professor Oyemade carried out research and worked in areas that revealed her love for children with special needs, babies who were in ‘Motherless Babies’ homes because they had lost a mother, children in foster care and children with hearing impairment and other disabilities. This resonated very much with my own work on the mental health of infants’ children and youth and we met a couple of times at the Home for Children with disabilities in Ibadan, when she was Chairperson.
When I got married a couple of decades ago, I discovered that there were several links between my husband’s family and Professor Oyemade. Her father, Chief Adedipe, Elemo of Akure, a big merchant in Osogbo was a very close friend of Venerable Julius Ladunjoye Omigbodun, my father-in-law and one of her sisters got married to Professor Adeyemi Mosadomi, a nephew of Ven JL Omigbodun and the current head of my husband’s extended family.
I was extremely delighted when I was privileged to put a sash on my teacher, Professor Adefunke Oyemade, at the pioneer edition of CoMUI’s Learning from her Living Legends in November 2022.
Please join me in celebrating her at 90 years today, a teacher of teachers, a mentor of mentors, a beloved CoMUI Living Legend.
I pray for health, strength, peace, and joy for Professor Oyemade in the years to come.
Happy Birthday, ma’am, the entire CoMUI Community Celebrates you.
Olayinka Omigbodun FAS
Professor of Psychiatry &
Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan
Profile of Professor Adefunke Oyemade
Professor Adefunke Oyemade was born on December 29, 1933. She is the eldest child of Chief Josiah Orisabinu Adedipethe Elemo of Akure and Madam Victoria Bolaji Adedipe. Her educational journey began at All Saints School, Oshogbo (1939-1946) and continued at CMS Girls School, Lagos (1947-1950). She completed her secondary education at St Anne’s School, Ibadan in 1953, where she served as the prefect of her house, St Margaret, in her final year.
In 1954, she left Nigeria to pursue her A levels at the College of Technology, Portsmouth, UK. She gained admission to the University of Glasgow, Scotland, in 1956, where she studied medicine. After completing her full registration in Medicine, she returned to Nigeria and worked at Adeoyo Hospital from 1963 to 1966. In 1967, she went back to the UK to obtain a Diploma in Public Health from the University of Glasgow. Returning to Nigeria, she joined the University of Ibadan in 1968 as a medical research training fellow and was later appointed Lecturer Grade 1 in 1971, rising to Senior Lecturer in 1975. In 1973, she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the University of Glasgow for her pioneering research on the Care of Motherless Babies in Nigeria. She became a Professor in 1984.
Professor Oyemade's significant contributions lie in three areas: 1. Persons with social, physical, and mental disabilities; 2. Health problems of rural dwellers, especially farmers, women, and children; 3. The study of day-care centres and nurseries in Nigeria. Her research innovations have had a substantial impact, making her the leading authority on the health problems and management of motherless babies and children in day-care centres and nurseries in Nigeria.
She has served in various academic and administrative capacities at the University of Ibadan, including being the Head of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine from 1990 to 1993. Her other appointments include Chairman of the Undergraduate Medical Curriculum Committee, Faculty of Medicine representative on the University’s appointment and promotion committee, and as representative of her department in designing a master's program in Social Work. She was also a Medical Consultant in the rural integrated development programme sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Professor Oyemade is a member of several learned societies, including being a Fellow of the West African College of Physicians (WACP) and the Nigerian Medical Council in Public Health. She has been an executive member of the International Association of Agricultural Medicine and Rural Health and served on the Oyo State Committee for Persons with Disabilities. Additionally, she has held various leadership positions, such as former Chairman of the board of management for the Ibadan home for motherless babies and home school for children with disabilities in Ibadan. She was also the former president of the Sickle Cell Association of Nigeria, Ibadan chapter, and appointed patron of the Red Cross Society of Nigeria, Ondo State Branch.
Professor Oyemade has achieved numerous firsts in her academic and social life, being the first female Medical Practitioner from the old Ondo province (now Ekiti and Ondo states), the first female medical professor from Ondo state, and the first female merit Award winner in Ondo State for academic excellence in the medical field.
As a consultant, she has worked with internal agencies and served as a WHO/UNICEF national and international assessor for the baby-friendly initiative, promoting breastfeeding. She also served as a consultant under UNDP and ILO, designing community-based vocational training rehabilitation programmes for persons with disablities in Kano and Katsina states. Professor Oyemade was technical consultant to the UNDP in designing modules on population and health for universities in Nigeria.
In recognition of her outstanding contributions to scholarship, she was conferred with the chieftaincy title, Yeye Fiwagboye of Akure, by His Royal Highness, Oba Atayese Adebobajo Adesida IV, the Deji of Akure. Professor Adefunke Oyemade further solidified her legacy through several paper presentations at international conferences in Liberia, Salt Lake City, Berlin, Hamburg, India, and Cairo.
Her late husband, Dr. Gabriel Adebola Oyemade was equally a Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon who worked for over 30 years at the University College Hospital (UCH) and in his latter years in Saudi Arabia. He held other positions outside his job such as President of the Rotary Club in Ibadan. He was also Chairman of the Board of the Igbobi Hospital, Lagos, and Chairman of Ijebu-Ife Community Bank. He was also very involved with his local church, All Saints Church Jericho, Ibadan.
Birthday Wishes from the entire CoMUI Family
We consider it a great blessing from the Lord for Professor Oyemade to have reached this remarkable milestone of her 90th birthday.
On behalf of the entire College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI) family, we extend our heartfelt greetings for the profound impact she has made in the field of medicine and beyond. She is a teacher of teachers. Her pioneering research on the Care of Motherless Babies in Nigeria and contributions to the health problems of rural communities, especially farmers, women, and children, have shaped the model of preventive and social medicine in Nigeria. She not only excelled in academic pursuits but also demonstrated exemplary leadership, serving as the Head of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine.
For Professor Oyemade, the value of being 90 is not just in the passing of years but in the wealth of experiences, knowledge, and wisdom accumulated along the journey. Her life is a repository of wisdom, and we are grateful for the lessons she continues to impart to us.
On this special occasion, the entire College family offers prayers for her continued good health, joy, and fulfilment. May this day be filled with the love and warmth that she has shared with countless students, mentees, colleagues, and community members over the years.
We share this on behalf of the entire management team, students, staff, and researchers at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan who see how her legacy echoes daily in the corridors of learning in our dear institution.
Indeed, we are honoured to celebrate this extraordinary milestone with her. A gbàdúrà pé ojú yín yoo ma r’ọ́dún nínú ìlera pípé àti àláafíà kíkún. Igba ọdún, ọdún kan ni yóò jẹ́ lórúkọ Jésù. Àmín
At the Maiden Living Legend Programme in November 2022