SURGIL 2024: From the Classroom to the OR

On Wednesday, the 10th of July, 2024, the Surgical Interest Group, Lagos (SURGIL) hosted the first-ever student-led scientific conference in Nigeria. Held at the Old Great Hall of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), the maiden edition of the conference- SURGIL Conference 2024 was themed “From the Classroom to the OR: Nurturing the Next Generation of Surgeons”.

The event commenced at 11:02 a.m., a little over an hour behind schedule. Despite the rain and flooded roads, students from various medical schools, including COMUI, Eko Unimed, LASUTH, Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Olabisi Onabanjo University, LAUTECH and the host institution LUTH, gathered for registration.

The conference began with a cinematic video introduction to Surgil, a group founded in 2020 to support medical students aspiring to become surgeons. Folusho Akiwande, a recent graduate of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL) and the President of Surgil, welcomed attendees and acknowledged distinguished guests from various universities.

Dr. Akodu delivered the first opening remark at 11:15 a.m. on behalf of Prof. Folashade Akinsola, Dean of the Faculty of Clinical Sciences at LUTH. This was followed by Dr. Israel Akin, who spoke on behalf of Prof. Daniel Odebiyi, the Provost of the College of Medicine.

The morning session featured a series of abstract presentations by clinical medical students. Notably, Victoria Mokwenye’s presentation on “Surgery as a Career Choice: Perception, Interest, and Factors Influencing Interest Amongst Female Medical Students at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos” resonated with the audience. She discussed the male dominance in surgery and the challenges and stereotypes faced by female surgeons, earning praise and encouragement from senior doctors and professors to publish her work.

Professor Adesoji Ademuyiwa, a consultant pediatric surgeon and director of the National Institute of Health and Care Research, Global Surgery Unit Lagos hub, delivered a compelling keynote address. Representing LUTH despite his University of Ibadan qualification, he humorously acknowledged the rivalry between the institutions. His address covered surgical education, mentorship, early exposure to surgical skills, and the importance of adaptability to technology and AI in future surgical practices. Professor Ademuyiwa emphasized that the attitude of a good doctor is more critical than pure intelligence. While making a point on the importance of early exposure to surgical education, he cited LASUTH’s initiative of exposing students to surgical skills as early as their 2nd year. His outstanding contributions were recognized with an award, bringing his total accolades to 13.

The tea break served as an engaging networking session, allowing students to connect while enjoying refreshments. The afternoon session featured breakout networking sessions where students could interact with surgeons from various specialties, including neurosurgery, general surgery, plastic surgery, pediatric surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, and urology.

Timilehin Okeya, the Editor-in-Chief of Surgil, launched the inaugural edition of the Surgil magazine, titled “Exarsco: Beyond the Scalpel.” with Dr. Tayo Ojo as the face, and a fundraising session followed, raising a significant amount towards the 2 million naira target.

Dr. Ademola Adeseye from AdventHealth delivered the second keynote address, emphasizing mentorship and sharing personal stories about his mentors. His engaging speech concluded the main sessions, with a panel discussion by Dr. Tayo Ojo and other surgeons, addressing questions from the audience.

Although UIMSAites had to leave early to avoid Lagos traffic, the conference continued with the Global Surgery Team’s presentation and the presentation of awards. The event concluded at 5:22 p.m. 

Rodiyah Khidir

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