For the first time in Nigeria, specialists in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) will commence bone marrow transplant on a full-scale by June 2023. Professor of Paediatrics, Edamisan Olusoji Temiye, made this disclosure while delivering the thirteenth (13th) Inaugural Lecture in the 2021/2022 Academic Session of the University of Lagos on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade T. Ogunsola, FAS, ably represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services), Professor Ayodele V. Atsenuwa, presided over the lecture entitled: Catastrophic Diseases of Children – The Despair, The Struggle, The Hope for the Future.
Prof. Temiye further revealed that this milestone was the result of the collaboration between LUTH and Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria (SCFN), which also facilitated the establishment of the first Comprehensive Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Centre in Lagos, the first of its kind in West Africa.
When fully operational, the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Centre in LUTH, is anticipated to end the need for Nigerians to travel abroad to seek a cure for sickle cell disease. In addition, the centre is expected to attract medical tourists from other countries seeking safe bone marrow transplantation procedures, marking a new era for medical tourism in Nigeria.
Furthermore, one of the equipment donated to the centre by Chevron/NNPC joint venture, an 8 colour Beckmann flow cytometer, which is required for Prof. Temiye and his team to process and determine the quality of bone marrow obtained from the donor to be transplanted into the recipient, will also assist in the characterization of different types of cancers, particularly leukaemia, in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole.
While sharing his 24-year experience in dealing with three catastrophic diseases that affect children: sickle cell disease, HIV infection, and childhood cancers, Professor Temiye compared the statistics of these diseases in Nigeria to global data. He highlighted the fact that Nigeria had the highest population of people with sickle cell disease in the world.
Professor Temiye noted that his research team focused on pain management in sickle cell disorders, an aspect which was not considered by several other researchers and specialists in the field. According to him, his team were pioneers in conducting a clinical trial on a local bean extract called Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea), which is marketed by Neimeth Pharmaceuticals International as Ciklavit®. The trial showed that the product is capable of relieving the painful crises associated with sickle cell disease.
The Inaugural Lecturer expressed his disappointment at the lack of adequate funding for research into the cause, effect, and management of sickle cell disease in Nigeria, despite the high burden of the disorder in the country. He emphasized the importance of educating citizens from early childhood stages to adulthood about the disease, reducing stigma, and offering support to people living with sickle cell disease.
He commended the efforts of his team, and particularly expressed his appreciation to the management of LUTH led by Prof. Chis Bode, the Chief Medical Director, as well as the management of SCFN for the confidence reposed in him by appointing him as the Chairman of the Bone Marrow Transplant Working Group to ensure that the goals of the centre are realised in the shortest possible time.
Speaking of the continuing prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection in Nigeria and its transmission to children, Professor Temiye called on the government to prioritize the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, as well as scale up public education about HIV transmission, prevention, and treatment. He noted that the campaign against HIV infection had been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and should therefore be reamplified.
On the issue of childhood cancer, the renowned professor of paediatrics urged the government and supporting partners to invest in training and retraining paediatric oncologists to improve early diagnosis and effective management of childhood cancers.
Professor Edamisan Olusoji Temiye of the Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Clinical Sciences was born on Thursday, October 24, 1957 in Igbokoda, Ondo State, Nigeria. He is happily married and blessed with children and grandchildren.