A CALL TO DUTY – BIOGRAPHY OF GEN (DR.) OVIEMO OVADJE
Dr. Felix Otu Oviemo Ovadje, born 20 December 1954 in Evreni, Ughelli Local Government Area, Delta State, Nigeria, is a Medical Doctor who served in the Nigerian Army as a Brigadier General\Chief Consultant Anesthesiologist and an Intensive care Physician. He trained at both the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
He is a Fellow Medical College of Anesthesiology (1994).Fellow Nigerian Medical Association, 1994. Fellow West African College of Surgeons, 1995;He was declared the Best African Scientist in 1995 before African Heads of States, when he won the World Intellectual Property Organisation and Organisation of African Unity Gold Medal for scientific work designed to save women who usually die from abnormal pregnancy (ECTOPIC GESTATION). He also won the Promex Silver Medal in Geneva in April 1998 for designing a safety cap syringe for the prevention of Needle Prick injuries among doctors and nurses. He is a three time winner of the Chief of Army Staff Commendation Award of the Nigerian Army for professional excellence, and various non-medical awards. He was Chief of Delegation – Nigeria, to the World Congress of Military Medicine at various times between 1994 and 2014. He was elected into membership of the following bodies.
Technical Working Committee of the World Congress of Military Medicine representing Africa, Asia and the Pacific in 1996 in Beijing China.
- Military Surgeons of the Federal Republic of Austria in Vienna, Austria, 1998.
- Life Member, Association of Military Surgeons of the United States of America (AMSUS) Anaheim, 1999.
Dr. Ovadje in 1996 won the National Council of Health and Ministerial Commendation Award for professional excellence and for his contribution to health technology . Dr. Ovadje won the World Bank Institute Award in February 2000 after he was classified as one of the top 339 finalists at the Developmental Market Place in Washington DC.
He became the first African to win the World Health Organisation Sasakawa Gold Award (Geneva Switzerland) in the year 2000. In 2001, he won the Arco Gold Award at the Dorchester London, England. He became a JP Morgan Chase Laurent in San Jose, California, USA (2002). He was declared the Most Celebrated Professional in Nigeria in 2014 (Abuja) and was decorated among 100 Nigerians who had contributed to the growth and development of Nigeria since 1914 by the Presidency. (2014).
He holds three national honorary awards; Member of Order of the Niger (MON)1998; Officer, Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR) – 2000 and National Order of Productivity Merit Award (NOPM) – 2001. He holds the Army Council Medal, 2001. He became a Justice of Peace (2006).
INVENTOR OF THE EMERGENCY AUTO TRANSFUSION DEVICE –THE EATSET
Dr. Ovadje, observed that a lot of women, during pregnancy, in developing countries die from internal haemorrhage (bleeding) arising from ruptured ectopic pregnancy, a condition which is common in Africa. The absence of an organized blood transfusion service is a factor in the increased morbidity and mortality in this group of patients, who cannot afford the cost of procuring blood from the laboratories. The gauze filtration and scooping technique adopted by earlier doctors was messy and unsafe.
The EATSET was used in its primitive, but sterile form by Dr. Ovadje to save intra peritoneal blood from 12 patients as presented at the World Congress of the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM) in Augsburg, Germany in June 1994. This was published in the journal of the ICMM in 1995. Dr. Ovadje was elected Chairman Special Scientific Session on The United Nations Deployment of Troops on Blue Helmet Mission (Peace Keeping) during the Congress.
He won a UNDP grant to refine and solve the problem of blood salvage from body cavities by pioneering and creating the EATSET device through a North \ South collaboration, to replace and improve on the gauze filtration technique as practiced in developing countries.
The EATSET device has been described by the World Health Organisation as a low cost and an appropriate technology relevant to the needs of developing countries. Its development is part of the global effort at ensuring blood safety. The initial skepticism that greeted the simplicity of the EATSET and its lack of sophistication, led to the invitation of Dr. Watson Williams (American) by the World Health Organization as consultant following the UNDP grant.
The UNDP sponsored the refinement of Dr. Ovadje’s EATSET in 1994, under the execution of the World Health Organization. By April 1995, the equipment was refined and in-vitro trials were conducted successfully at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital by Dr. Ovadje, Engr. Claude Fell (A Swiss Consultant), Engr. Dr Isaac Nnadi of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and Professor Asalor of the University of Benin. The outcome of the trials was approved by Professor Akinsete, Head of Department of Haematology, University of Lagos Teaching Hospital and Professor Dorothy Foulkes-Crabbe, (Chairman of the African Chapter of the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologist – WFSA).
WORKSHOPS, LECTURES & CLINICAL TRIALS.
Dr. Ovadje organized an International Scientific Conference and Workshop (April 29 – 31, 1995, Lagos Sheraton Hotel and in 2002, Abuja Sheraton, sponsored by the UNDP, WHO and the Federal Ministry of Health to determine the degree of the problem of hemorrhage in pregnant women in developing countries. About 430 medical professionals; Doctors, Nurses, Hospital Administrators, Scientists and Industrialists attended from Nigeria, Ghana, Switzerland, United Kingdom, South Korea and India.
His presentation of techniques of auto-transfusion and the EATSET to medical doctors undergoing specialist training at an OPEC funded conference at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital (1990) and during a seminar organized by the Commonwealth Defense Science Organization at the Defense Headquarters in 1991 contributed in endearing the EATSET to many of his professional colleagues.
Dr. Ovadje’s work in the management of ectopic in developing countries was publicly acknowledged by Government, UNDP and WHO whose awareness of the need for a simplified, low cost device such as the EATSET in Africa was increased. He won the 1995 OAU-WIPO Invention Award in recognition of his significant contribution to African innovation in the field of Health Care. A Gold Medal was presented to him during the OAU summit in Addis-Ababa.
An Alpha Clinical Trial was conducted at the University of Geneva Cantonal Hospital under Prof. Denis Morel, Chief of Anaesthesiology. His report confirmed the efficacy of the EATSET and its usefulness in clinical practice. A multi-center B-Clinical Trial under Professor Dorothy Foulkes-Crabbe was conducted at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Military Hospital, Island Maternity Hospital and the General Hospitals in Ikeja and Lagos.
Dr. Ovadje delivered lectures at the Emergency Care Research Institute, Philadelphia-United States of America – 1994; World Military Medical Congress – Augsburg – Germany, 1994. As a WIPO Roving Lecturer in 1995, he gave lectures in Lesotho and in Addis Ababa, Nazarene, Bahir Da and Mekelle all in Ethiopia. He lectured and made poster demonstration at the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM) –Beijing, China, 1996; Also at the World Congress of Anaesthesiology, African Chapter – Harare, Zimbabwe 1998; At the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM), 1999, Vienna, Austria. He gave lectures at the World Military Medical Congress at the Sun City in South – Africa, 2000. Dr. Ovadje gave lectures at the Tech Museum and at the Santa Clara University, during his crashed MBA program in 2002.
Dr. Ovadje was married to the Late Dr. Naomi Ovadje, Consultant Opthalmic Surgeon, both of them were blessed with 5 children, Dr. Lauretta, Risk Science Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Michigan; Dr. Pamela, Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Windsor and Canadian National Mitac’s Award Winner; Barr. Felicita, MD Felicita Artistry, Winnipeg Manitoba and Mr Dickson and Noel Ovadje.