History Centre visit to University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Dr John Manton, Assistant Professor, Health Systems in History: Ideas, comparisons, policies c. 1890-2000, Centre for History in Public Health.

Centre members Martin Gorsky and John Manton visited Ibadan in Nigeria for ten days in October, where they were hosted at the University of Ibadan by IFRA-Nigeria. The visit enabled Dr Manton to follow up on a previous collaboration with IFRA, on research methods training in history and anthropology of medicine, by offering a workshop to IFRA fellows. It also added new archival and investigative strands to Prof Gorsky’s Health Systems in History project.

The Director of IFRA-Nigeria, Dr Elodie Apard, together with her academic and administrative colleagues, welcomed the LSHTM team and provided logistical and scholarly support for visits to the Nigerian National Archives, the Kenneth O. Dike Library at University of Ibadan (named after the prominent historian of the Ibadan School and former Vice-Chancellor of the University), and the Library of University College Hospital.

IFRA-Nigeria will also provide ongoing support to the Nigeria component of the Health Systems in Historyprogramme, enabling the project to build a community of interested scholars and research assistants, to develop research on the history of health systems and planning in late colonial and Independent Nigeria. Prof Gorsky gave a very well received introduction to the broader programme as part of the IFRA Distinguished Personality LectureSeries, with his lecture “From ‘Planning’ to Systems Analysis’: Health Services and Development at the World Health Organisation, 1952-1975”.

Social highlights of the visit included attendance at the court of the Ooni of Ife, paramount ruler and spiritual leader of approximately 40 million Yoruba, dining with the IFRA research team, and visiting with longstanding colleagues and collaborators of Dr Manton. Plans are afoot for follow up visits to consolidate very fruitful work in Ibadan, and to further raise the profile of LSHTM and the History Centre across Nigeria.