Everybody needs to be knowledgeable in occupational safety - Dr. Tunji Dawodu

Everybody needs to be knowledgeable in occupational safety - Dr. Tunji Dawodu
The provost of Ogun state College of Health and Technology, Ijebu Ode, Dr Tunji Dawodu spoke on the standard of Health and educational system in Nigeria and the relevance of occupational safety in the college. Excerpts:

SAFETYVIEW; Can we meet you sir?
Dr Tunji: I am Dr Tunji Dawodu, the provost of Ogun State College of Health and Technology in Ilese, Ijebu Ode in Ogun State.

SAFETYVIEW; Sir, please tell us about your achievements since you become the Provost of this great institution.
Dr Tunji; One of our major achievements is that we have been able to build landscapes on the campus. The campus was mostly bushy before I was appointed Provost of the institution in 2006. Before 2006, none of the programs in this college was accredited by the “National Board for Technical Education”, now our ND and HND programs have been accredited by the NBTE.


There is also a major achievement in terms of academics. When I got here in 2006, I inherited just a considerable amount of money; about One Million, five hundred thousand naira (1.5 million) to run the college. But by the Grace of God, today I pay a salary of eighteen million naira (18,000,000) significantly from Internal Generated Revenue (IGR).  We have been able to erect about nine buildings which stand out to my credit from the IGR as part of the college facility. Although, Government also gave us subvention to augment.
The staff strength have expanded exponentially as well, now over forty five Masters Degree holders and five PhD holders lecture here and I am expecting two more. Manpower development is ongoing; recently we have sealed an agreement with the University Of West of Scotland to do some top-up degree programmes.



SAFETYVIEW:
Sir, Can you tell us the focus of the college concerning the health sector?


Dr Tunji: Our College is very central to the overall delivery of health care, education and awareness. There are 426 health centers in Ogun State, 90% of the staff are our products. We have twenty six General Hospitals in Ogun State, majority of their Medical Laboratory Staff, Pharmacy Technician staff, Health information management staff and all others are our products.  We are the largest producer of health manpower for Ogun State.


SAFETYVIEW; What has been the testimony of students graduating from this institution?


Dr Tunji; Well, the students will give you good testimonies. I am not in the position to give testimonies on behalf of the students because it will be like praising ourselves, but let me allow you to interact with some of our students and they will tell you their own story. But to a large extent, I know that they are happy, they are liberated, they are futuristic, they know they have been in the right place. They are proud of their institution. The bane of these institutions generally is that the programs are terminal; they are controlled by professional regulatory bodies so they graduate with their certificates and Nigeria has a standard of education that recognizes certain categories of certificates for career progression.


For example in Nigeria, WASSC, GCE, NECO, GRADE II, NCE, DIPLOMA, OND, HND, B.SC, M,Sc, PHD are all recognized. That is the academic structure, so anything outside these have to be evaluated by the ministry of education for placement in universities and that has been the issue. So they have to go through the ministry of education for certificate evaluation but now we don’t need that because we have been restructured. We now award ND and HND, so placement in the university is now very easy because universities have standards, they know where to put ND, HND and so on.  Unlike before, you have a certificate nobody knows the worth, it’s only the school that knows the worth, so because of that nobody wants to come here. But now that they know they are going for HND, they can do ND here and go down to Yaba College of Technology and finish up with HND. A HND holder can do a PhD and Masters as well, so now people see that they are going to school. You know, we have to streamline, we have to restructure along National academic structure so that students can know what they are pursuing and key into it, that does not stop us from writing professional exams as well.


SAFETYVIEW; What is your advice to your colleagues (provosts) and to the government at large?

Dr Tunji; To government first, they have to increase subventions to schools, increase funding to schools because this is what will be used to buy equipment, build structures and so on. Secondly, Provosts and lecturers should continue to upgrade themselves regularly to be abreast of what is going on in the outside world.


SAFETYVIEW; You are collaborating with Occupational Safety and Health Association, what is the purpose of that? Are there any plans for other departments in the school to key in to such collaboration with OSHAssociation?


Dr Tunji; Yes, some of the departments don’t have occupational safety and health in their curriculum. If you are a pharmacy technician, you need occupational health knowledge, right now, it is only three programs that have occupational health entrenched in their curriculum. They are environmental health, Public Health Nursing and Community Health. Out of the eighteen programs that we are running, everybody needs it because there is a relationship between the work you are doing and health.


SAFETYVIEW; Thank you so much, we appreciate your time sir and of course we hope to see you again.


Dr Tunji; You are welcome and hope to see you too again.