Our colleague and friend, a worthy scientist, a proactive academician and mentor, departed this life on the 12th November 2020 at the age of 85. He achieved numerous degrees in his medical profession, was honoured with National awards and given deserved International recognition.
Professor Etim Moses Essien was a University of Ibadan alumni graduating with M.B, B.S IN 1962. He furthered his education at the University of London obtaining a Masters Degree and went further to obtain his Doctorate in Medicine M.D at the McMasters University in Canada. In 1970 Professor Essien started his specialty carrier as a Lecturer of the University of Ibadan and a Consultant Haematologist at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. This was when I first knew him and many of us marveled at someone specializing in bleeding disorders – our first in the department.
He introduced the subspecialty of Haemostasis and with his laboratory expertise; he treated the first diagnosed haemophiliac. He was an exemplary teacher of undergraduates, residents, senior staff and consultants included. He was often in the Blood Bank requesting for components of blood for the treatment of his patients. This encouraged and boosted their production and storage as a subunit of the Blood Bank of UCH. He set up protocols for the diagnosis, immediate laboratory investigations, treatment and the confirmatory tests and follow-up of patients with bleeding disorders primary and secondary.
Prof Essien wrote many articles in international scientific journals. His presentations at conferences and workshops earned him Membership of WHO Expert Panel on Bleeding Disorders. In 1977 he earned a well-deserved position of Professor of Haematology at his Alma Mater U.I. He was a founding member of the Nigerian Society of Haematology and Blood Transfusion (NSHBT) and became the society President 1984-1986.
His community and professional concern for the growing HIV/AIDS pandemic urged him to propose a management protocol to Professor Olukoye Ransome-Kuti, the then Hon Minister of Health. Soon after in 1986 he became the Chairman of the Federal Government National Expert Advisory Committee on AIDS, which has now developed into the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).
He was on the Medical Advisory Board of World Haemophilia and Vice President of the International Society of Blood Transfusion. It was not unexpected with his background in scientific research that in 1989 he was appointed the Chief Executive Officer and Director General of the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, NIMR, Yaba in 1989. His devotion for quality care in Haemostasis and other aspects of medical research won him the notable Basic Medical Sciences Prize of the Third World Academy of Science in 1993.
Prof Essien has been honoured with the OFR and the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM). His openness, forthrightness and having a listening ear later earned him the Chairmanship of the Governing Board of Nigeria’s National Merit Award. We shall miss the departure of a world class Haematologist. Never to be forgotten.
We give our heartfelt condolences to his dear wife, son and daughter Dr. Ekaete Essien-David who has carried on the legacy of her father’s profession as one of us, a Haematologist. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE WITH GOD. AMEN.
Professor Aba Omotunde Sagoe,
Abridged Curriculum Vitae:
ETIM MOSES ESSIEN was born in Ikot Eko Ibon, a village in ONNA Local Government Area (LGA), Akwa Ibom State Nigeria, on 31 st December 1934. He graduated MBBS (London) from University College, Ibadan 1962, and earned the MD of the University of London in 1974.
ADVANCES IN SCIENCE
Pioneer researcher on Haemophilia in Nigeria, created the Masia Machine that helped in rapidly thawing fresh frozen plasma used in treatment of Haemophilia. He did a lot of his research on platelet function Association between platelet function, coagulation and Malaria.
Professor of Haematology, University of Ibadan 1970-Retirement
Pioneer Chairman, National Action Committee on AIDS now National agency for control of AIDS (NACA) 1985
Director General, National Institute of Medical Research Yaba Lagos 1989-1992
Winner of Third World Academy of Science Award in Basic Medical Sciences 1993
Founding Provost of Medical School in The University of The Gambia
Chairman, Governing Board of The Nigerian National Merit Award 2014-2017
He was a Visiting Scientist to Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom, Mc Master University Ontario Canada, Katholiek University Leuven, Belgium.
MEMBERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL BODIES
He was a member of several professional bodies some of which include:
Foundation member, Nigerian Society of Haematology and Blood Transfusion
Member World Federation of Haemophilia
Member British Society of Haematology
Member International Society of Haematology and Blood Transfusion
Fellow Nigerian Academy of Sciences
The author of over 130 articles in different journals, periodicals as well as contributions to books and monographs.