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Dr. Babatunde Ipaye : A Cerebral Public Health Specialist At 50

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On this day, May 15 1970, Dr Babatunde Ipaye, a native of Oke-Agbo, in Ijebu-Igbo, Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun state was born. Ipaye attended St. John’s Primary School and Beje High School, between 1981 and 1986.Upon completion of his secondary school education in which he bagged seven distinctions, Babatunde became the toast of everyone in Ijebu-Igbo town, a feat that attracted scholarship awards that subsequently helped him to further his studies.

Luck smiled on Babatunde yet again when he won the scholarship after his WAEC examination. Ipaye reverted from learning shoe-making to study medicine at the Ogun State University (now, Olabisi Onabanjo University), Ago-Iwoye. He graduated from Ogun State University with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree in 1992 as the overall best doctor, winning 5 university prizes including the university chancellor’s prize as well as the best graduating doctor from departments of Pediatrics and Medicine. 

After his mandatory national service at the Delta State University Health Centre, Abraka, Delta State, he worked as a medical officer at the Victory Specialist Hospital, Ijebu-Igbo, before he established Idunnu Hospital, Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State in December 1995.

In 2010, Babatunde established ‘Ajoke Ipaye Foundation’ in aid of brilliant but indigent students studying in Nigeria. With over 25 beneficiaries, he noted it was an opportunity to give back to Ijebu-Igbo community that made him, and a way of looking back with a heart full of thanks.Ipaye is an outstanding Public Health and Management Specialist with twenty-six (26) years of progressive experience in health care delivery at all levels of public and private sectors.

He has helped to manage several international donor disease control projects and awards including the World Bank, Global Fund and UK-DFID funded projects on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Institutional Development and Knowledge Management.Ipaye has also provided high-level technical support to many Nigeria health programmes as well as multi-country technical assistance on health policy and programme reviews.

Ipaye is a Fellow of the prestigious West African College of Physicians (FWACP) in Community Health and holds a Master degree in Public Health from the University of Lagos. He is a member of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria and also trained at the Royal Institute of Public Administration, UK, in Organisational Behaviour and Change Management.

He was Senior Technical Response Coordinator of the UK Department for International Development funded SIR Project; where he coordinated SNRs technical support to six states of Enugu, Cross Rivers, Kaduna, Benue, Nassarawa and FCT. He was also a lecturer of Community Medicine and Primary Care at Olabisi Onabanjo University and also taught health management at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Ipaye was a consultant Health and HIV/AIDS Advisor to United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) in Nigeria; he was also a long-term Technical Advisor to National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) through the UK-DFID funded SuNMaP project. 

Ipaye assisted Nigeria secure 485 million dollars grant-in-aid for the first time in the history of malaria control in the world. It was the biggest public health funded support that any country would receive at that time. 

After two years of work as Advisor in malaria, Ipaye joined the World Bank as a Consultant in HIV/AIDS Specialist, supporting the implementation of the HIV development project for Nigeria, in all the states. In May 2011, he was engaged by WHO as an external reviewer of Ethiopian Malaria Programme Review and the development of revised Ethiopian Malaria Strategic Plan. He also supported The Carter Centre, Atlanta, USA, in the development of her first annual malaria plan for Nigeria.Ipaye was consultant HIV/AIDS Specialist to the World Bank on the second HIV & AIDS Program Development Project; he is also the Team Leader, Peltom Global Services Limited, a Nigeria management and systems support organisation that has supported several agencies of government at federal and state levels. 

 As a politician, Ipaye was a member of the AD between 1999 and 2004 before the party dissolved into two factions. He was a State Officer. He was also an Assistant Treasurer for AD in Ogun State, at that time. 

Ipaye was the coordinator for Sen. Ibikunle Amosun’s re-election in Ijebu Igbo local government for his second term re-election. He was also the coordinator of the 20 coordinators across the state. He served as the commissioner for health in Ogun State between 2015 – 2019.

As commissioner, Ipaye focused on Primary Health Care through the distribution of life-saving equipment to over 100 PHCs in most need, where essential drugs to many of the PHC centres were supplied.

Care providers were trained on task shifting strategy, just as financial protection was provided for the poor and vulnerable children and pregnant women in 84 facilities across the states through the Araya Social Health Insurance Scheme.

The 2018 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) report was published; the survey implementation was technically supported by USAID, UK-DFID, WHO, The Global Fund, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNFPA.At the end of 2018, Ogun State was the safest of the 36 states and FCT for a child to survive childhood killer diseases in Nigeria.

Ogun State’s under-5 mortality rate was 30 per 1,000 live births down from 105 in 2011, and the Infant mortality rate was 19 per 1,000 live births from 67 in 2011.

 The 2018 values were the lowest for all states in Nigeria. Ogun state maternal mortal by the end of 2018 was also 3.2 times better than the national average.However, the most outstanding achievement was the consistent decline in the mortality rates of the vulnerable populations between 2011 and 2018.The schools of nursing and midwifery got accredited; the mother and child health intervention campaigns were taken to the remotest parts of Ogun State. The private sector component of the state’s health system was also revalidated.

Registration of all the private health institutions in the state and delisting over 300 illegally registered facilities were carried out. 228 facilities operated by quacks were closed down.

The accreditation for undergraduate training of the Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching hospital was never lost, the teaching hospital secured full or partial accreditations for postgraduate training in Department of Anaesthesia – National Post-Graduate Medical College; Department of Radiology – West Africa College of Surgeons; Department of Internal Medicine–National Postgraduate Medical College, and Department of Orthopaedics – West Africa College of Surgeons.”

Other postgraduate accreditations such as Department of Paediatrics – National Postgraduate College; Department of Surgery – West Africa College of Surgeons; Department of Ophthalmology – West Africa College; Department of Paediatrics – West Africa College, May 2019; and Department of Community Medicine – West Africa College, May 2019 were also secured.

Ipaye is an advocate of the bottom-up approach to health care delivery through community participation and ownership, presently he consults for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Fund, Malaria Consortium UK, etc.He is happily married, and he is blessed with three kids.

John Felix writes from Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital.

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