A BMAN Session with Professor Bernice O. Adegbehingbe

Even The Best and Brightest Face Challenges-Professor Bernice O. Adegbehingbe

Professor Bernice O. Adegbehingbe is the current Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. She is the immediate Head, Department of Ophthalmology at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife.
is the current Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. She is the immediate Head, Department of Ophthalmology at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife.

She is an alumnus and a university Scholar of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife where she graduated with B.Sc. (Hons) in Health Sciences in 1985 and MBChB in 1988. She had her post graduate training in Ophthalmology within and outside Nigeria. She obtained a Diploma in Ophthalmology from the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland and a Masters’ in Advanced Ophthalmology from the University of Bristol, England. She is a fellow of both the West African College of Surgeons and the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. She is currently an examiner with these postgraduate colleges. She is a fellow of the International Council of Ophthalmology and the International College of Surgeons. She is Member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Oxford Ophthalmologic Congress, Oxford, UK and Middle-East African Congress of Ophthalmology. She has won many research grants and fellowships both national and international. She reviews many international peer-reviewed-journals of repute.

Professor Bernice Adegbehingbe is an erudite scholar and astute clinician who, as an Ophthalmologist, has mentored and trained over twenty world class Consultant Ophthalmologists. Some of whom are professors in universities across the country, Chief Medical Directors, and Head of Departments in their various academic and health institutions.

She has also supervised and assessed over twenty research projects in Ophthalmology and related disciplines. She has presented several articles in many international conferences across the globe including the World Ophthalmologic Conference. She has published over 60 original articles in many international journals of repute. She gave her professorial inaugural lecture, titled ‘That I may see’ on the 30th of August 2016.

She is passionate about impacting on her community especially on improving the health status of the less privileged through community outreach health programmes which she has championed in sixteen years with the support of all other members of the Eye care team in Ile-Ife and other cities in Nigeria. This, she has achieved through numerous care-targeted-eye-screening programmes conducted in churches, mosques and market places coupled with eye health talks in various gatherings even, on the mass media (Unique FM, Gold FM, Orisun Radio and Osun State Broadcasting Corporation).

She is a dedicated and devout Christian. She is hard working and highly focused. These virtues are responsible for her ability to multitask excel in her numerous administrative, academic, spiritual and clinical activities including managing a very successful private hospital. Professor Adegbehingbe was the guest facilitator at the BMAN conference held in Lagos Nigeria on Friday the 23rd, February 2018.

These were her thoughts and advice as she shared her experiences with the boys while responding to the BMAN mentor me session.

When I was in primary three (3), at a very tender age of about eight years; it marked a turning point in my life. I had been doing pretty well academically before then but that term, my mother who was the Head teacher in my school spared time to prepare me for my second term examination. This made me came overall first in the terminal examination which made me extremely happy and greatly motivated. Since that day, I never liked to miss the first position in my academics and then, I developed a positive spirit for success and, that was it! Till I left the elementary school, I took the first position all through.

When I got to secondary school, I discovered I had to work extra hard because I was coming from a rural background. Having to compete with brilliant students from the cities, even, older classmates who had graduated from Teachers’ College or “Modern School” Education as it was called then. I struggled between the third and sixth position until the second term of my year two (five years secondary education then) when I came first again and, that was it! No one took the first position from me until I graduated from secondary School.

The rest is history, as the fear of God, hard work and focus has been the foundation of my success in life till date.

Lesson: Success is sweet, always aspire higher and have a positive mind

My biggest failure was recorded on my first attempt at the Diploma Exams of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, Ireland in 1992. I never imagined I could fail any examination in life because I always give my best to preparing for them; as a result, I am always sure of success. However, when I realized that I eventually failed the exam which I had prepared so adequately for and was so confident of passing, I was devastated and dejected. I cried for a-few-days but the Lord told me, I allowed you fail this examination so as to know how it feels when people fail an examination.

Lesson: Even the best and brightest face challenges. My biggest learned lesson is that it is God that gives Success. Don’t think too much of yourself. After I have put in my best, I should still depend on God to bless my effort and grant me good success.

The Almighty God has used a lot of people to direct my destiny and He has given me the grace to accept the guidance I received from those people. I have received help right from the time I graduated as a medical doctor on continuous basis. The greatest of them all is the advice I got to apply for a Diploma in Ophthalmology and the guidance received from mentors. This made me apply for a scholarship, which was granted to me to pursue a Masters’ programme. The Scholarship was also granted for a second year of Clinic practice. God used people I never knew to help me in getting through, to fulfill my destiny.

Lesson: It is good to trust God for everything because He can use any person or circumstances to bring His will to pass in our lives. Learn to look up to God for all things.

This, I got from the word of God, in the book of Proverbs. It says, have you seen a man who is diligent in his work, he will sit with kings and not with mere men. This I held close to my heart and eventually got my self sitting with real Kings in the Palace of Late Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II and mama HID Awolowo serving as their highly esteemed personal Ophthalmologist during their life time.

This sounds more like an occasion for regret, but I give glory to God who has been the guide from my youth. God has not allowed me to have any occasion for regrets. He has sent a lot of positive influences into my life and I never miss any opportunity He threw at me.

Lesson: Learn to listen to people of positive influence and shun all forms of negative influence, however strong they could be and from whomsoever it could be from. Be positive minded and focused.

You need to be courageous to shun and stand against evil and pursue good. This is a period when it is fashionable to do evil, while good acts are perceived as abnormal and uncivilized. I always look for opportunities to defend the rights of the vulnerable, pursue justice and fairness. This takes courage.

I am afraid of any situation that may make me to fail or disappoint my Lord and Saviour. I know God’s grace is sufficient for me, He will carry me through. So, I am not afraid. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

I really want to learn how to be of more positive impact on my immediate and remote sphere of influence.

Is it worth all the stress? The stress one goes through in this world, especially when some people get along financially with little or no stress. But my greatest consolation is that I enjoy what I am doing. The joy of being a blessing to my generation keeps me going and pressing forward daily.

Anyway, our Lord has commanded that we should be occupied till He comes, doing good works.

Success is good, but it just doesn’t jump on people. It takes personal discipline, hard work and focus.


Thoughts on Professor Bernice Adegbehingbe

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