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'I Owe It All To God...And My Parents'

Posted by on 2004/07/16 | Views: 1800 |

'I Owe It All To God...And My Parents'

For the graduating University of Benin students, the day marked another milestone in their lives. Perhaps more significant to 26-year-old Miss Eghosa .Y. Elaho who was recognized by the university as the most outstanding student with eight awards including the best graduating medical student.

For the graduating University of Benin students, the day marked another milestone in their lives. Perhaps more significant to 26-year-old Miss Eghosa .Y. Elaho who was recognized by the university as the most outstanding student with eight awards including the best graduating medical student.

IN 1995 when Miss Eghosa Elaho gained admission into the University of Benin, College of Medicine, little did she anticipate a deserved place in the hall of fame for the best students from the medical college. Like every other fresh student, the challenge was great. But young Egbosa had worked assiduously since her first year to set a record which stunned the audience, including Mrs Stella Obasanjo who has since offered her scholarship for a post graduate study in any university of her choice,anywhere. .

Eghosa was born on September 17, 1977 at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital to Professor Raymond Elaho, a teacher in the Department of Foreign Languages of the institution and Mrs. Lillian Paribo Elaho. Her educational life started when she was three years old, at the University of Benin Staff School from were she proceeded to the University of Benin Demonstration Secondary School from 1987 to 1994. She gained admission into the University Of Benin College Of Medicine primarily to actualize her childhood ambition of becoming a medical doctor.

Unveiling her inspiration to read medicine, an unassuming Eghosa said as a child she had been fascinated by the way her ill maternal grandmother who was rushed from Port Harcourt to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital was cured after a few days sojourn at the hospital. Her convalescing period with Eghosa family had stimulated a desire in the little girl to want to alleviate peoples medical problems just like the folk that helped restore her grandmother's health.

The bespectacled medical doctor, who as a child was thrilled by the way doctors restored her grandmother's health, noted, "for as long as I can remember I have always wanted to study medicine. It started when I was nine years old. My maternal grandmother was very ill; she had hypertension and cataract. You know when old people are sick and it's critical, you see people running helter-skelter. They brought her from Port Harcourt to Benin. I realized that after medical attention, she became normal and I was overwhelmed that it was a doctor that did this and that is how my ambition to be a doctor really started"

Her zeal for the medical profession earned her the nickname 'doc' within her immediate family. Having realized that the little girl's mind was set, her parents never in any way prompted her to study anything else other that that she had opted for herself. For those who knew her then, they were not surprised when, in 1994, she sat for the Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination (JAMB) and her first choice was medicine. She scored 247 in the university entry exams and was the second on the list of those admitted into the college a year after.

While a student at the University of Benin Demonstration school she was ranked the overall best student in the Junior Secondary School (JJS3) exams, a feat she repeated during the Senior Secondary School (SSS3). So it was apparent that she was destined for greater achievements.

The most significant moment of the last University of Benin convocation was not when honorary degrees were conferred on some prominent Nigerians but when the awards won by Eghosa literally came in torrents: Dean's Prize for Best Student in the final year degree examination, Departmental Prize for Best Graduating student in the Department of Community Health; Departmental Prize as Best Graduating student in the Department of Surgery; Professor Victor. O. Ovdasu Prize for Best Graduating student in the School of Medicine; Professor Hill Memorial Prize for the best student in surgery (MBBS Part 4); Glaxo Prize for best female graduating prize in final MBBS exam in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

And the rest: Pediatrics Association of Nigeria Best Graduating Student in School of Medicine; Professor Bello Osagie prize for best graduating student in the department of medicine. Stella Obasanjo ,the wife of the President, who was impressed by this resounding success spontaneously stood up to announce that she was offering the medical genius a scholarship.

Eghosa whose small, slim stature could be deceptive compared to her academic status said: "I feel its God's favor. I worked very hard but I know if God was not on your side you will labour in vain. Before every examination I will pray. The medical curriculum is wide and you have to revise everything. The sheer volume of work could be frightening, but I just pray to God and put my trust in Him and everything worked out for me. I just thank God for crowning my little effort with this success. As I said, God is the one who made this possible, not me."

All she had ever wanted was to excel in all her examinations, basically to graduate when she was due,not to pile up awards. She explained that it was certainly the wish of every medical student to do extremely well in the pursuit of a degree in the school of medicine and in fact be honored with awards but in her case all she was concerned with was just to read hard and pass well. "I was only reading and passing my examinations with the aim of graduating with my set. I never contemplated I was going to win awards but God just decided to crown my efforts with greater things," she added.

Still overwhelmed by her own success ,she told the Guardian that prior to the convocation, expecting that if at all she was going to win another it would not exceed one . She was to be proven wrong as additional five awards crowned her efforts

The opportunity offered her by Mrs. Stella Obasanjo is one that Eghosa is prepared to utilize to the fullest. She would want to specialize in Endocrinology .. One area she equally indicates interest in is community health. Already she disclosed she has been collecting information on the internet to enable her choose a good institution around the world, preferably in the west. "It is a branch of medicine where you have a direct influence on the way things pertaining to health care policy are formulated. You can influence government decision. It is broad-based but it's not going to be my main focus because one can specialize in internal medicine and also get involved in community"

Eghosa is currently serving as a house officer at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. She explains that it was a bit difficult getting used to the daily routine of going to the hospital to attend to patients she has to live with this for the rest of her life."Now I am a house officer in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. They call us the first line of defence because we are the first to see the patients when they come here with their problems. The house officer is always around. At first it was difficult but I am getting used to the job, I love attending to my patients' needs. When I resume work I walk up to my patients give them a smile and ask how they are fairing. Ssome of them need emotional support and caring for people motivates me" she added.

She is quite optimistic that more students could still achieve greater heights if only adequate facilities are available to enhance their academic pursuit. One thing of great concern to her would be for the relevant authorities to provide the basic equipment to enhance learning. "In advanced nations they are making breakthroughs in all facets of live because the facilities are there. Our people can do better if they have the gadgets that modern medicine requires but I believe there is hope for this nation. We cannot be condemned to a situation of lack of facility. With this scholarship granted to me, I think the government means well. It's an indication of the administration's commitment. There is hope for Nigeria" she said.

Medicine is not all; Eghosa loves listening to rock music, watching movies, and reading. She is also a lover of arts. Two paintings on the wall of her room may have confirmed her other interest. She used to paint as a kid but the love of medicine as a career overrides any other potential.

Though she is not a radical, her sole role model is the former South African President, Nelson Mandela who she described as a gift to humanity. Others who she said had inspired her are her parents. First, her father who she said is a very hardworking man who has risen from his humble background to become a respectable professor of foreign languages. Then her mother who would stop at nothing to ensure the happiness of the family.

Surprised by the number of CDs in her room ,she was asked how she combined her love for music with her studies in school and she was quick to point out that she was never a book worm . "I had my fair share of fun while also working hard as a student. But there is certainly time for everything. I just thank God for all He did for me"

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