When Professor Chidi Ezeama assumed the rectorship of Abia State College of Health and Management Technology last year June, the institution had a lot of grounds to cover. There were mounting challenges staring the institution menacingly on the face. Fortunately, one year down the line, Prof. Ezeama has braved every odd to surmount some of these challenges and even exploring new areas.
Before the assumption of duties as the rector of the institution by Prof. Ezeama, one of the major constraints of the institution was that its graduates were not mobilized for the compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps programme. This perhaps may have affected its intake over the years. But today, the narrative has changed as graduates of the institution are now mobilized for the programme.
The institution, which was initially a specialized one offering only health-related courses such as Environmental Health, Public Health, Public Health Nursing, Health Information Management, Public & Community Health Technology, Medical Laboratory Science, and Science Laboratory Technology, has now expanded to accommodated courses such as Public Administration, Statistics and Computer Science. It is cheering to note that accreditation to Higher National Diploma in these courses are nearing completion.
It will be recalled that recently rain storm ravaged the school and affected some of its facilities such as building roofs and over 40 computer sets. Through the concerted efforts of the rector, the school was able to take delivery of over 100 computer sets from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). The rector has also initiated other palliative measures while awaiting substantial assistance.
The school is now the center for the “anti-mosquito breeding campaign”. The campaign lays strong emphasis on malaria control rather than treatment. And the programme tends to achieve this through mounting intensive campaign against mosquito breeding.
In anticipation of the increase in students’ intake, Prof. Ezeama is mobilising at a faster pace to attract funds from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to ensure that new departments are established and that facilities are expanded to match the anticipated explosion in students’ population.
Prof. Ezeama is synonymous with achievements. Right from his days at Ihie High School, Abia State he made Division one in the West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1974;University of Nigeria Nsukka, where he bagged Bachelor of Science ,BSc, (HONS) Microbiology in 1981, to University of Port- Harcourt, where he bagged both his Master of Science (MSc) and Philosophy Doctor (PhD) in Food Microbiology in 1994 and 2002 respectively, he has demonstrated high intellectual capability.
He has taught in Federal Polytechnic Bauchi; Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic Uwana, where he rose to the position of a Principal Lecturer .At Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Ezeama rose to become a Senior Lecturer in 2005; Associate Professor (2007); and Professor (2010 till date).
Ezeama’s teaching career has spanned virtually all areas of microbiology such as Advanced Food Microbiology; Advanced Food Fermentation; Food Microbiology; and Food Biotechnology. Others are Microbiology of Food Products, Microbial Food Ecology, and Public Health Microbiology. He held the following positions at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike: Deputy Dean, College of Food Processing and Storage Technology (2006-2008); Acting Head, Department of Food Science and Technology (2008-2010); Head, Department of Food and Science and Technology (2011-2013).
The establishment of Abia State College of Health Technology Aba, Abia State predates Nigeria independence. The institution was established as a School of Hygiene in 1948 with the central philosophy of studies, training, research and the development of techniques in Applied Arts, Sciences, Management, Technology, Commerce and other Fields of learning.
On August 26th, 2009, the then Chief Theodore Orji-led administration signed into law the bill establishing the Abia State College of Health Technology, Aba, thereby upgrading the institution to the status of a polytechnic. Also, the first Governor Council of the institution was inaugurated on the 11thg November, 2009 with the current governor of the State, Okezie Ikpeazu (PhD) as the chairman.
The objectives of the institution were education and training leading to award of diploma, degrees, certificates, distinctions and other qualifications in health, scientific, technology, vocational, professional, managerial and such other manpower needs of the nation, particularly at the grassroots. The institution was to organise appropriate training programmes -courses, seminars and workshops- for such examinations set by the college or by other examining bodies that may require such consultancy services.
Other objectives include conducting research in relevant health, scientific, technological, vocational, professional and managerial disciplines. The achieve these objectives, the institution established general academic requirements for the various programmes in order to satisfy the academic and vocational/professional requirements for the various programmes of study; prepare the trainees for a variety of employment situations they may face in the future; ensure that the trainees meet the set standard for their contemporaries in similar institutions in the nation.
With Professor Chidi Felix Ezeama at the helm of affairs at ABSCOHMAT, the institution is a place for young men and women seeking successful careers in the areas of community health, public health, pharmacy, environmental health, and other health- related disciplines, public administration and statistics.
. Ukegbu writes from [email protected].