President's Acceptance Speech

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I feel greatly honoured to stand before you all today to accept your election as the 13th president of our esteemed association, the Nigerian association of Nephrology, in its 26th year of existence. When 2 years ago I was chosen unanimously as the President-elect to serve tutelage under our outgoing president for two years, it appeared like an awful long time away. However in no time at all, the time has very rapidly passed by and today I stand before you as the 13th president of out great association.

I must acknowledge all our past leaders, and noble and great individuals they all have been from our inaugural president and the father of nephrology in Nigeria, Prof Oladipo Akinkugbe, through Prof AFB Mabadeje my tutor and mentor, Prof T.A. Odutola another mentor, to Prof Akinsola, Prof L I Ojogwu, Prof Okoro, Prof Solomon Kadiri (whom I served as secretary), Prof Ademola Aderibigbe, Prof Oviasu, Prof Arije, Prof C.K. IJoma and finally my immediate predecessor Prof Mrs Evelyn Unuigbe. Many of them I have served at various times in ex-officio, secretarial and vice-presidential capacity leading on to my election as president in waiting, two years ago.
I must however make special mention and acknowledge my immediate predecessor, Prof Evelyn Unuigbe whom I have told in private conversation several times but make bold to say publicly now is a truly anointed and blessed leader. The way she has run the affairs of this great association over the last two years is a true reflection of the infinite possibilities that exist in the hands of a divinely blessed leader whom she has proved to be. Her motherly role in steering this association through the activities marking the 25th anniversary of this great association in Abuja, her attempts at bringing back to prominence many past leaders of the association and the giant strides the association has witnessed all through her tenure as president of the association are a true reflection of this anointing. I have requested and she has assured me that she would be passing on this “anointing” and mantle as I assume the presidency this evening.
I shall be the 13th in a long line of distinguished scholars and great leaders and incidentally the first from outside of academia and in private practice and possibly the youngest in its history. I propose to bring the efficiencies, successes and attention to detail that have been associated with privately run institutions to bear over the running of the activities of the association over the next two years. I certainly will not disappoint the confidence reposed in me with this election as president.
Our association has been in existence for over 25 years and yet has not been formally registered by the CAC in Abuja! This is a great aberration which needs to be rapidly corrected. I acknowledge the efforts made by my immediate predecessor and affirm that this will be achieved within the first few months of this presidency. The Governor of this state has already, following entreaties made during our courtesy call earlier in the week, assured us of his support with all the machinery of state in ensuring the conclusion of the registration process expeditiously. We would also follow this up with whatever is required to ensure that we are registered by our original name, the Nigerian Association of Nephrology.
Secondly, it is also of concern to us that our Nephrology nurses are yet to have a formally accredited institution to certify their training and experience as critical partners in the practice of nephrology. This will be vigorously pursued at all levels to ensure their official certification as a post-basic training course as all these can only serve to improve on our various practices and the outcomes for our patients. I must acknowledge the role the nurses have played over the years in ensuring the growth of our association and the development of nephrology as a sub-specialty and no effort should be spared in ensuring their certification as a post-basic qualification.
Thirdly, there is a need to continue to improve on the quality of our practice of nephrology. This must involve the development and enforcement of various guidelines, protocols and SOP’s to guide the practice of nephrology. There are now many dialysis units spread all around the country and there is a need for us to take a census of these units and ensure that the practices in these units follow internationally acceptable guidelines and protocols. This can only be to the benefit of our practice as individuals and our patients as a whole.
Fourthly, I strongly believe there is a need to have a strong and effective registry of renal diseases. It is an embarrassment to us all as nephrologists when we attend international conferences and are unable to give credible data of the prevalence, causes and management characteristics of various conditions that we manage every day. Paucity of trained numbers may have been an excuse in the past but is now no longer a tenable one. We must develop a credible renal registry that would develop data that we all can rely on and be proud of. I have held preliminary discussions with some of our industry supporters and plans are already afoot to ensure that this registry is established. It is however imperative that we all support this initiative immediately with compilation of relevant data and transmission of this data to a central pool which will then be made available to all starting retrospectively from January this year. It will take some sacrifice and dedication on our part but this can only serve to better our practice and knowledge and the outcomes for our various patients.
This brings me to the 5th item on my list of proposed projects over the next two years. 27 years ago in training at LUTH, we were carrying out peritoneal dialysis in some selected patients on a regular basis. It is therefore distressing to note that many years after, we are yet to establish this as a routine modality for managing appropriate patients with renal impairment! Over the past couple of days, we have listened to various lectures which I hope has inspired us to reenact a resurgence in regularly carrying out this relatively routine procedure. I recognize the challenges of non-availability of the necessary consumables and the cost of these when available. It thus my intention to ensure the regular availability, possibly through local manufacture, of the fluids and other consumables and the training and retraining of all the various cadre of staff required for the safe and cost effective practice of peritoneal dialysis.
Finally, as an association and under our past president, our renal care policy (initially developed during the presidency of Sir Dr Ademola Aderibigbe) has been put together. This details various projects and policies that will ensure the improvement and growth of the practice of nephrology in Nigeria as a whole with the resultant improvement in the outcomes for our long-suffering patients. With all the resources available at my disposal, I intend to ensure that this is passed along to both the executive and legislative arms of government and eventually adopted as I am certain that the eventual result can only be greater recognition of nephrology as a specialty and improved outcomes for our patients.
I recognize that to be able to successfully carry out these plans, I am going to need the buy-in and cooperation of all of us in this great association. I will therefore be calling on us all in various capacities to do all we can to ensure a successful outcome to all these outlined plans. Various committees will be set up and reconstituted to ensure active participation by all. I am particularly keen on leveraging on the wealth of resource we have of Nigerian nephrologists in the diaspora and look forward to looking at ways to enlist their assistance in the training and retraining of various categories of staff involved in renal care and their active participation in our conferences going forward. I met with many during the last ASN conference in Atlanta and they all appeared willing to contribute their bit towards the improvement of nephrology practice in our beloved country.
I must on your behalf, yet again acknowledge and commend the government and the beautiful people of the “Sunshine state” of Ondo for their hospitality in hosting us in both Owo and Akure over the past couple of days. We have thoroughly been well entertained and overwhelmed by your generosity and the success of this conference. As the BOT chairman said at the dinner “we came, we saw and were impressed”. The LOC have been incredibly dedicated, hard working, wonderful and exceeded our expectations in every way. I also thank all members for taking the time to travel down for the conference from your various destinations and acknowledge that this success would not have been possible without your active participation.
I look forward to an exciting two years during which I commit myself entirely to your service though with your expected active support.
See you all at the 27th NANCONF 2015 and safe journeys back to your various destinations.
Dr Ebun Ladipo Bamgboye
President NAN 2014