11 Jun Appreciation Letters from the Nigerian Medical Students Association (NiMSA) to the OCI Foundation
It should be recalled that, in May 2020, the OCI Foundation covered the costs of the maiden (2020) edition of the Auwal Shanano Foundation National Essay Competition (TASNEC), which featured students from ALL THE MEDICAL SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA.
Before then, in August 2020, the OCI Foundation also sponsored the first-ever Literary Award for Medical Students (LAMS). At the time, it was staged only for the medical schools South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria, who initiated the idea. However, the 2021 Edition of LAMS will feature medical schools from all the geo-political zones of Nigeria, a decision that reflects Prof Ifediora’s firm commitment to inspiring youths and medical undergraduates across the Nigerian nation, irrespective of gender, religion, ethnicity or political orientation.
LAMS is designed to identify, inspire, and reward medical students who show literary dexterity. As stated, its next edition, which will be concluded before November 2021, will be merged with TASNEC. In addition to cash awards for the competition, the OCI Foundation will be providing branded medical scrub outfits and stethoscopes for the top 10 performers in the competition, with automatic membership to the OCI Foundation offered to the top 3 as well.
For the records, TASNEC was originally established by NiMSA in honour of its former President, the late Auwal Shanano, who died in 2011 while on active service for NiMSA. The maiden competition in late 2020 was initiated by NiMSA, and at the time, independent of the OCI Foundation. Due to difficulties in fulfilling the benefits tied to the award, the OCI Foundation was approached to assist, and the Foundation’s Board graciously voted in the affirmative.
SCRUB OUTFITS PRODUCED AS PART OF LAMS SPONSORSHIP
The OCI Foundation’s decision to support the Nigerian medical students via the LAMS Initiative was an easy one, given that the Foundation’s Founder, Assoc Prof Chris Ifediora, was very active in NiMSA activities in his undergraduate days. He was also an alumnus of the SE Zone of NiMSA, having been a prominent member of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Medical Students Association (NAUMSA).
As a medical undergraduate, Dr Ifediora, who was nicknamed “the Scribe” due to his literary prowess, served as the Secretary-General of the Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations, FAMSA (the body of all African medical students) in 2001. Before then, at the NiMSA General Assembly hosted by the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (Nigeria), he contested for, and lost narrowly in a very keenly contest election for the Director of the NiMSA Standing Committee on Medical Education (SCOME). He remained active in NiMSA, featuring prominently in the associations national activities across all regions of Nigeria between 1999 and 2002. He was also an invited delegate to the General Assembly of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) in Taipei, Taiwan (2001), but, for reasons beyond his control, he failed to attend, despite obtaining the required visa.
Dr Ifediora also served as the Secretary Generals of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Medical Students Association (NAUMSA) and the ROTARACT Club of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (ROTA-NAUTH), among other positions. He was a recipient of the inaugural “Most Academically Outstanding Medical Student Award”, offered by the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Medical Student’s Association (NAUMSA).
His exposures to a balanced mix of academics and politics helped him hone his literary skills, which has guided him to achieve excellence in his careers to date as a medical practitioner, researcher and academic. Those skills were also vital in his sojourn through institutions in the United Kingdom (University of Liverpool), the United States of America (Harvard Medical School) and Australia (Griffith University).
These underlie his firm convictions that developing literary skills among doctors can unlock huge potentials that significantly complements medical practice, and the LAMS Initiative is his way of inspiring our upcoming doctors in this regard.
For the records, the OCI (Onyebuchi Chris Ifediora) Foundation is an international (Nigerian-Australian) non-profit, charity organisation established with the aim of breaking down barriers to the attainment of excellence among Nigerians through Education, Health and Empowerment/Charity Activities. The LAMS Initiative is a component of the Foundation’s Educational project, which has 5 other scholarship schemes under it. These scholarships can be found HERE.
Even though only the Eight Medical Students’ Associations under the SE Zone of NiMSA will be benefiting from this LAMS Initiative for now, the OCI Foundation is open to the possibility of expanding the program across the entire Six NiMSA zones in Nigeria.