I graduated as a doctor (MB,BS), University of London in October 1963 in the University College, Ibadan which was then a College of the University of London. I started working in the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital in November of the same year as a locum House Officer and continuously as House Officer; Senior House Officerin Surgery; Registrar in Surgery; Senior Registrar in Surgery all in the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital. From the position of Senior Registrar I was appointed Lecturer 1 in the department of Surgery of the University of Lagos and then promoted Senior Lecturer and from the position of Senior Lecturer I had a phenomenal promotion to the position of PROFESSOR IN CARDIOTHORACIC SURGERY in October 1977. I was 40 years old when I became Professor of Surgery, the youngest in that position in Nigeria at that time. My training as a Surgeon and Cardiothoracic surgeon started in Lagos University Teaching Hospital under renowned surgeons like late Professors H. O.Thomas; Akin Adesola and Paul OmoDare. My mentor, teacher, and friend remains Professor Ade Elebute who is still alive and well. My training abroad started in the Royal College of Surgeons of England, London where I obtained my professional qualification (FRCS,) Eng. My training in Cardiothoracic surgery was in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital of the University of Birmingham under late Professor A. L. dâ€™Abreu; Mr. Leon Abrams of Abramâ€™s needle fame and Mr David Clarke and also under Mr. Waterston of Waterstonâ€™s shuntfame, a Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon of the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London. My research interest was mainly in the defining the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter in Nigerians in relation to the lower incidence of sliding hiatus hernia in Nigerians when compared with the very high incidence in Caucasians. I wrote a thesis from the totality of this work for a degree of Master of Surgery of the University of London and was awarded the degree of Master of Surgery of the University of London in 1975. Some of my students from the University of Lagos are now very senior Professors in the University of Calabar and in many Universities in and outside Nigeria. I was employed as a Contract Professor of Surgery and Chief Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, in the University of Calabar on 1st March 2001.I immediately started the nucleus of a Cardiothoracic unit for the first time in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital which today has grown to a Division of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery with three consultant Cardiothoracic surgeons two of whom are full professors. The Division has partial accreditation to train Cardiothoracic surgeons for both the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria and the West African College of Surgeons. The new consultant in the Division graduated from our trainee pool. We at the moment have three senior residents and one junior resident trainee in Cardiothoracic surgery. We also teach and train medical and Dental students, run clinics and carry out Cardiothoracic operations. Since my appointment in 2001 I have been actively involved in the training of resident doctors teaching and supervising their Dissertations. Most of the residents I first met as residents when I first joined are now Professors or Readers. Details of my work and achievements are detailed elsewhere in this write up. Professor Okon Odokwo Bassey. Professor and Chief Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon.
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