An Icon Goes Home - Tribute To Professor Adeyemo Elebute (1931 - 2019)

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Monday, March 04, 2019   08.55AM / By Posi Tubosun


The Elebute Family last week announced the death of their father and grandfather, Prof Emmanuel Adeyemo Elebute (CON). According to the family, he died in the early hours of Saturday, February 23, 2019.


A Tribute


Professor Emmanuel Adeyemo Elebute was born in Lagos Nigeria on 15th September, 1931. He was educated at C.M.S. Grammar School, Lagos where he was Senior Prefect (Head Boy), and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland where he graduated BA, M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O in 1956 having won a number of prizes including the Henry Hutchinson Stewart Prizes for performance during the Basic Sciences Years, the Daniel John Cunningham Medal for Anatomy (1953), the Acquilla Smyth prize for Pathology, Bacteriology and Materia Medica (1954) and the Fitzpatrick Scholarship for best performance throughout all professional Examinations in the Medical School (1956).


He was conferred the Master of Arts degree and the Doctor of Medicine degree (by thesis) by the same University. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (1960) and of England (1960), a Foundation Fellow of both the West African College of Surgeons (1969) and the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (1971), a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians (1973), and an Honorary Fellow of the Polish Association of Surgeons (1973).


In 1996, he was conferred with the Honorary Fellowship of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland. Professor Elebute worked in highly reputed hospitals in U.K. including the Birmingham Accident Hospital, the Midland Centre for Neurosurgery, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore. In Nigeria, he worked at University College Hospital Ibadan till 1962 when he was invited to join the foundation staff of Lagos University Teaching Hospital.


In Lagos, he became Professor of Surgery in 1969 and was later Provost of the College of Medicine from 1977 to 1980 and Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital from 1978 to He served as Senior Buswell Research Fellow at University of Rochester, New York State, and Commonwealth Tropical Medicine Senior Research Fellow at the Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit in U.K. (1975), as Visiting Professor at University of Arrhus, Denmark, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and Manchester University, UK; and he was external examiner in Surgery in several universities including Ibadan and Ife Universities in his home country, Nigeria, University of Ghana and Makerere University, Uganda, in other parts of Africa, Trinity College Dublin and Manchester University in Europe.


He served on many learned and professional organizations, having been Secretary of the Association of Surgeons of West Africa (later converted to the West African College of Surgeons), President of Nigeria Medical Association, Member of Executive Committee of the International Federation of Surgical Colleges, Member of Executive Council of Societe International de Chirugie, Member of the Council of the UK-based Association for the Study of Medical Education, Member of National Universities Commission of Nigeria and of Nigeria Medical Council, Member of Editorial Board of such prominent medical journals as British Journal of Surgery and World Journal of Surgery.


He was Chairman of the World Health Organization s Task Force on the Development of Appropriate Technology for Health in the field of Laboratory Equipment, and of the World Health Organization Committee of Heads of Medical Schools in the Africa Region. He was also President of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, which College later nominated him a Distinguished Fellow in appreciation of his services to the College. In 1997, he chaired the Health Group of Vision 2010 Committee set up by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group. He was a Member of the Governing Board of the Pan-African University until he passed away.


Professor Elebute's research activities have yielded contributions to medical knowledge which have produced improvement in the care of critically ill patients in the tropical environment of Nigeria; and he devised a scoring system (Sepsis Score) which is used for the assessment and follow-up of patients with severe sepsis. He has co-authored books in the field of Surgery, published articles in academic journals, made presentations to scientific conferences and delivered public lectures.


Professor Elebute has also participated in the business life of Nigeria by being Chairman of Glaxo Group of Companies in Nigeria. He was appointed Chairman of Glaxo Nigeria Plc in 1981 and remained in that position till 1993 when the Company was split into two, namely Evans Medical Plc (which retained Glaxo s local pharmaceutical manufacturing facility) and Glaxo Nigeria Ltd and he was appointed Chairman of both companies. The latter became Glaxo Wellcome Nigeria Ltd after the merger with Wellcome and later became GlaxoSmithKline (Pharma) Nigeria Ltd after the merger with SmithKline Beechams. He remained the Chairman each time until he voluntarily retired from GlaxoSmithKline (Pharma) Nigeria Ltd at the end of the year He remained Chairman of Evans Medical Plc till 2004 when he voluntarily retired.


In 1985, Professor Elebute and his wife Professor (Mrs.) O. Elebute co-promoted a healthcare company, Hygeia Nigeria Limited, which owns and runs the Lagoon Hospitals/Clinics in the Apapa, Ikeja, and Victoria Island areas of Lagos and has also spun off Hygeia HMO Limited, a Health Maintenance Organization providing healthcare cover for company employees and individuals in all areas of Nigeria as well as the enrollees of the National Health Insurance Scheme of Nigeria. Recently Hygeia Nigeria has also established Hygeia Community Health Plan which provides health insurance for low-income groups in collaboration with Health Insurance Fund and PharmAccess of Netherlands.


In the year 2001, he was conferred the national honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (C.O.N.) by the Federal Government of Nigeria in recognition of his contributions to the development of healthcare in Nigeria. More recently (2005) the Federal Government appointed him Chairman of the Board of Management of University College Hospital, Ibadan (the premier University Teaching Hospital of Nigeria), and consequent upon this appointment he was elected the Chairman of the Committee of Chairmen of the Federal Government's 53 tertiary hospitals.


Professor Elebute was a member of Metropolitan Club, Lagos, of the Lagos Motor Boat Club and Yoruba Tennis Club.


Prof. Elebute is survived by his wife, Prof Oyinade Elebute and were blessed with four grown up children who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields: Adekunle Elebute, Modupe Odunsi, Adebimpe Nkontchou and Folasade Laoye, as well as many grandchildren.


May his soul rest in peace.



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