The society we live in places so much value of gender imbalance. It’s a society which believes the man must be the head while a woman’s role is in ‘the oda room’.
However, some brave women in our society have taken the bull by the horn and have broken this myth with exceptional performances in their chosen careers.
They have paid their dues and have rendered services to the nation, which is no doubt influencing the grooming of new ones in the society. One of such women is Prof. Folashade Tolulope Ogunsola, a cerebral Professor of Microbiology, who just earned the substantive role of the Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos, Lagos State.
With her research interest and work centered around the diagnosis and prevention of infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance, recognized by the World Health Organisation and her recent article “Nigeria and disease outbreaks. Better prepared, but still weak spots”, it is safe to say, Prof. Folasade Tolulope Ogunsola earns what comes her way.
Understandably, Academia is a sector in the Nation that must not be underestimated. This is where futures are bred. To them and, rightly so since their service to their country is to build lives, contributing to its existence and survival, they quickly align their philosophy or thinking with preserving its integrity and unity.
Admitably, a University Don like Prof. Ogunshola is an infectious being, one who serves conscientiously, with poise and carriage. As a Nation builder, she never lost sight of the central ingredients needed in building lives.
A time like this reminds one of Prof. Ogunshola’s active stents in the Tertiary education sector. Professor Ogunsola is the Principal Investigator of the AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN) (a PEPFAR grant) at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos and Site Principal Investigator of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative in Nigeria (MEPIN).
She was instrumental in setting up infection control programs in a number of institutions in Nigeria and was the Chair of the Infection control committee of the Lagos University Teaching hospital till December 2012. She is a member of the WHO technical working group on Infection Prevention and Control and a member of the WHO AFRO regional rapid response group of experts.
As it is with other professions, there are ups and downs, occupational hazards and tempting options in the Education sector. For our dear mama, despite the level of corruption and social misgivings in the country, her career accomplishments have shown that uprightness and dedication to service still pays.
Interestingly, her childhood prepared her for her current achievement as a Professor of Clinical Microbiology of repute. As a child, she mimicked medical practitioners by using dolls as patients, while offering medical care to them. Between 1974–82, Ogunsola obtained her first degree from University of Ife. She got a master’s degree from College of Medicine, University of Lagos, then proceeded for her doctorate at University of Wales between 1992–97.She has for two decades been involved in raising awareness on Infection Control in Nigeria.She was a founding member of the Nigerian Society for Infection Control in 1998 and has assisted in setting up infection control programs in institutions around the country. She has a strong interest in the application of Infection Control principles for the prevention of disease transmission and antimicrobial resistance in low resource settings. She is a member of the Global Infection Prevention and Control Network.
Professor Folasade Ogunsola before her appointment rose through the ranks to become the Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, and the Vice Chancellor of the University.
A woman of many firsts, she is the first female Provost at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos in its 50 years of existence. She doubled as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (development services) of the institution starting 2017. She was elected as the Acting Vice chancellor of University of Lagos on August 24, 2020 by the university’s senate. Ogunsola, was the first female acting vice chancellor of the University of Lagos. She has also been the chairman of the Infection Control Committee of Lagos University Teaching Hospital. Additionally, she is the chairman of the National Association of Colleges of Medicine in Nigeria.
The celebrated Professor of Microbiology has many awards and recognitions to her credit, including the Federation of European Microbiological Societies Overseas research Scholarship in1993, the Keystone Symposia Global Health Travel Award in 2010, Medical Women’s association of Nigeria Distinction in Medicine Award in 2013 and the Distinguished Alumni Lecturer at the 7th Prof. T. Adesanya Ige Grillo Memorial Lecture of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria in May 2014.Born 1958, Professor Ogunsola specializes in disease control, particularly HIV/AIDS.
In 2018, she expressed concern on disease prevention and control in Nigeria. She identified poor hygiene and overuse of antibiotics as practices that foster antimicrobial-drug resistance. Providing a solution, she maintained that “sustained Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) infrastructure and programs should be built around a set of core components which includes guidelines, training, surveillance, multimodal strategies for implementing IPC, monitoring and evaluation among others”. Speaking during a session with the media, she explained that the solution to reducing the 58% unemployment rate was for Nigerian graduates to begin innovating ideas that will enhance human life. She also noted that knowledge in itself isn’t sufficient, but its application in an appropriate manner to better mankind and enhance the livelihood of others is what youths should be concerned about.
As an Educationist, there are certain responsibilities and privileges assigned to diverse positions she has held.
Besides, the bask in the euphoria of her recent appointment, attaining this exalted position successfully is no mean feat at all! The entire world is watching while the younger ones are not dead to the world either.
Being in-between, the demand to be disciplined is also very high. Therefore, she cannot afford to dither or lose sight of the essence of her mission. The Professor of Microbiology has been able to strike a balance between her duties on the one side, and the Political class on the other. Is it any wonder that she has not misbehaved while working with the world heavyweights in the world of Microbiology?
Well, while one is not in doubt that the Federal Government will accord Prof. Ogunshola the extant package attached to her office painlessly. It therefore behoves the government to reward her handsomely for being dedicated to duty, and for her selflessness with a National Honour.
This will serve as an encouragement to others who will still serve in her position.
We wish Madam VC the best in her flourishing career.
Olamide Adeniji is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper