Limited number of cadavers for study in most medical schools in the country has been identified as hobbling the study of anatomy and achievements of its attendant gains, says Prof Moyosore Salihu Ajao, a professor of Anatomy at the University of Ilorin.
Moyosore made the observation while delivering the 214th Inaugural Lecture at the university, titled, ‘The Belly, the Brain and the Environmental Toxins: Balancing the Conflicts Between Necessity and Cost’.
Inaugural lectures happen once in the lifetime of most senior academics.
Such occasions are meant to showcase the life work of such a lecturer.
For Prof Ajao, a career in anatomy at the university has hovered around four main points which are Perceptions of students, teachers and populace about anatomy and the application of the subject to day to day life; his contributions in the study of environmental toxins, the brain and; Comparative Neuroanatomical studies and its application to human existence and training and mentorship in the field of anatomy to upcoming and future generation of anatomists.
The scholar observed that a unique thing about the study of Anatomy in most schools is the non-availability of “Raw materials” needed for its practical classes.
“They are never sold in the market in any part of the world,” he said, referring to the availability of dead bodies for study.
“Since human anatomy is the science that is concerned with the structures of the human body, these structures cannot be fully understood from written descriptions to dimensional pictures or plastic models.
The dissection of the human body (cadavers) is the basis for understanding the structure and functions of the human body for several centuries.
“In other words, to fully understand the importance of cadavers to man is far and beyond what we should overlook.
“The first major challenge I noticed on my assumption of office as a young lecturer in the department of anatomy was the chronic shortages of cadavers in the department and after a quick check on other universities, I discovered that we are not alone in the struggle to get bodies fit enough for dissection,” he added.
Citing one of his studies, Prof Ajao observed that there are different causes of the lack in the Nigerian varsities which reflected a poor ratio of students to cadaver during study in medical schools in Nigeria.
“This finding is consistent with the earlier report from China, where about 12 to 15 students used a body against International Standard that recommend maximum of six students to one body.
“The National Universities Commission recommends an average of eight students per body in Nigeria.
But Prof Ajao said that pressure to produce more doctors in the country keeps mounting every year and so the students’ population continued to rise while provisions of facilities including cadavers supply are limited.