L-R: Dr. Olaniyi Arowolo; Prof. Simeon Bamire, Vice-Chancellor of OAU; Prof. Morenike Oluwatoyin Ukpong; Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede; Dr. Fadeju Dada; Dr Elizabeth Oziegbe and Mr. Sikiru Lawal

Experts converge for Dentistry Conference, celebrate 50th Anniversary of OAU College of Health Sciences

*Organisers of the 16th Annual Faculty of Dentistry Conference held at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria, say the forum provides an avenue for scholars, researchers, stakeholders and students to deliberate on issues affecting dentistry, and strategies to look beyond one’s immediate professional practice in entrepreneurship

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Professionals from all walks of life recently converged on the BOOC Conference Hall of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria, to mark the 16th Annual Faculty of Dentistry Conference, and celebrate 50th Anniversary of the University’s College of Health Sciences respectively.

ConsumerConnect reports the Conference tagged, “Dentistry Without Borders”, provided an avenue for several scholars, researchers, stakeholders and students to deliberate on issues affecting dentistry and how to look deeper beyond one’s immediate professional practice.

L-R: Dr. Ogunfolakan Benjamin Adisa, Dr. Grace Modupe Oyatogun, Prof. Omowunmi Fatusi, Dr. David  Ofusori, Prof Kehinde Taiwo, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, Prof. Jacob Olupona, Prof. Foluso Owotade and Prof. Morenike Ukpong

In her welcome address, Prof. Morenike Ukpong, Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, said that the Faculty of Dentistry at OAU, Ile-Ife, as a trailblazer was the first and only University in Nigeria to have organised a Faculty Conference.

Prof. Ukpong recalled that was over two decades ago under the leadership of Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University, when he was the Acting Dean of the Faculty 2001.

The Dean said: “Prof. Ogunbodede learnt the strength and values such conferences could bring to health systems development during his stay in South Africa.

“And he replicated that here in OAU, Ile-Ife, while his singular efforts have led to replication of Faculty Conferences within the University and in other institutions in Nigeria.”

The Dean, Faculty of Dentistry at OAU, added: “It is one of the exemplary leadership that can come from the Faculty.”

Entrepreneurship in Dentistry

Mr. Leke Alder, a brand specialist and Principal, Alder Consulting, who was the Keynote Speaker at the conference, focused on the topic, “The Awesome Treasures in Dentistry”.

Alder, who highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship in one’s chosen profession, stated that

“self-esteem is very important in the game of success.”

He also said: “Develop self-esteem. Nobody is going to give you self-esteem, you give yourself.

“That you graduated from the school of dentistry doesn’t mean you automatically acquired a certificate in entrepreneurial competences.”

According to Alder, business is another thing entirely.

“If you want to succeed in business, you have to learn how to recognise opportunities. Learn how to take initiatives, learn how to network, to formulate vision, develop strategies, define your mission, iterate your corporate objectives, master your branding and flesh out your values,” he noted.

The leading brand professional further stated: “You must know how hire. Some people are better off in a partnership than on their own.

“If you are going to go into business, at least draw a plan. A dental practice is a business where there are so many business plan templates available on the Internet.

“I bet you will find one for dental practice. You will need to learn how to build an administrative structure, learn to manage your cash flow, how to market your service. The idea is to reduce the possibility of failure.”

From the cultural aspect of it, Jacob Olupona, a Professor of African Religious Tradition and American Studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, United States (US), opined that “unemployment rate in Nigeria is worrisome.”

Prof. Olupona said: “We have a crisis in Nigeria, we have people carrying certificates all around. “They have no job to do. It is not their fault, it is the systems that has failed them.”

The cultural expert also urged his audience: “Those of us who are responsible for this learning process must begin to think about how best we can help those students.

“The kind of social revolution we need is not using coups or using guns but cultural revolution, so that we begin to know when people are deceiving us and telling us stories and lies.”

Essence of record-keeping in practice

Likewise speaking from the cultural perspective in professional practice, Adisa Ogunfolakan, a Professor of Archaeology, frowned on “lack of record keeping of teeth that have been removed by dentists in Nigeria so as to proffer solutions to problems associated with teeth.”

Ogunfolakan also stressed “no record-keeping on teeth that have been removed by dentists in the past generations to see the nutritional changes. “Dentists must work with historians; doing this will help to generate data for action plans.”

Speaking at the event, Prof. Adebayo Simeon Bamire, Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and Chief Host at the 16th Annual Faculty of Dentistry Conference,  applauded the initiatives of the organisers in “taking the bull by the horns.”

Cutting new frontiers in research and professional practice

The OAU Vice-Chancellor stated: “The Conference is to take proper initiatives with sole purpose of achieving positive landmarks.

“This is a conference that borders on cutting frontiers, and open to new areas, cutting frontiers in the area of research and practice….”

Prof. Onikepe Folarin of the Redeemers University, in Osun State, on the second day of the Conference, allayed the fears of those having cancers and the need not to panic again.

Folarin said there are better ways of handling such cases, as she also urged the government to make policies that will help researchers in their works.

She also noted: “We have enough medical facilities to treat those suffering from it. We have the facilities.

“We have the capabilities to do all the test they go abroad for in Nigeria.”

There was a cultural troupe, which displayed different aspects of entertainment, ranging from dance, dance drama, monologue, miming to, singing to entertain the delegates in a relaxed atmosphere.

The organisers of the 16th Annual Faculty of Dentistry Conference at OAU, in a statement, disclosed that the actual Conference earlier started with six pre-conferences organised by the Dean’s office and the five departments in the University.

They said collectively, there were nine national and international resource persons and 690 participants from multiple locations in and outside Nigeria that attended the Conference in Ile-Ife.

Basking in the euphoria of organising an eventful and successful conference, Prof. Ukpong, Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, who doubles as the Host, noted that she looked forward to more educative outing that would impact positively the lives of both students and other stakeholders.

“There is no doubt that the Conference has given room for interactions that will help the Faculty of Dentistry and students in building their academic capacity,” she stated.

Ukpong added: “I need to thank everyone for their brilliant contributions.

“Our Faculty is noted for excellence and this will linger for many years to come.”

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