Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource. -President John F. Kennedy
An image of a black fetus in a black woman’s womb went viral some months ago. The ingenuity in that historic medical illustration was not only embraced as impressive but esteemed to be a very important contribution in medical science . Chidiebere Ibe, a citizen of Nigeria and student of University of Uyo is behind this history. He indulged the path of our famous Wole Soyinka of Literature( Nobel laureate) and Philip Emeagwali who won Gordon Bell Prize for developing a high performance application -an oil reservoir modeling calculation using a novel mathematical formulation and implementation. These people endeared the country to the world and also gave it a place in history.
When intellectual innovations come from Africa, it is very significant and lag the racial rating of Africans behind history and also dwarf to insignificance the stereotype of blacks once all alleged to be senseless people who can only be tasty morsels for alligators.
Chidibere’s achievement didn’t fail in utility as a causation for this kind of reflection. Even our western counterparts were the first to announce the importance of his achievements in that regard. For example when Good Morning America announced this innovative illustration, it noted that
“Researchers have observed the lack of diversity in medical illustrations. A 2018 study analyzing 4,000 images from four widely used medical textbooks found that while these textbooks reflect the racial makeup of the U.S., they overrepresented light skin tones and underrepresented dark skin tones. The study found that 77% of images showed a light skin tone, 21% showed a medium skin tone, and only 4.5% showed a dark skin tone” . Reporting on the implication of this lacuna, the publisher quoted Patricia Louise, Sociology Professor at the University of Washington to have said that “this is problematic, because the majority of medical imagery consists of decontextualized images of body parts where skin tone is the only phenotypical marker of race,”
Just as every invention has a day of announcements, that of Chidiebere Ibe came to diurnal on 24th November, 2021. His fresh perspectives inspired conversations from around the world. CNN announced that there was a viral image of a black fetus highlighting the need for diversity in medical illustration( read news here). Medical researchers from around the world also began to google Ibe’s work with their professional spectacle. Confirmations of originality and correctness of the work led to further publications in reputable medical journals.
This achievement has earned him an offer to pursue PhD at New York University after medical school. Also his deserved appellation as the first person in the world to make such Medical illustration also have Akwa Ibom State and the country ensconced in the positive annals of history and together nutrify the confidence of the west in their investment on the scholarship of Africans.
It need be mentioned that the inglorious image of Nigerian Youths as fraudsters is not unconnected to the country’s preferred inclination to bray the trumpet of faulters and cyber criminals like Hushpuppi instead of celebrating and popularizing patriots like Chidiebere . I believe the Vice Chancellor who may not be aware of this development yet, will certainly call for the celebration of chidibere . Only by that kind of gesture will our country and continent successfully bury this baleful image of our youths in abject desolation.
Other countries of the world have been found in the practice of recognizing and awarding exceptional young citizens. For example In 1984, the Government of India even declared and decided to observe the Birthday of Swami Vivekananda (12 January, according to the English calendar) as National Youth Day every year from 1985 onwards. According to the Government of India’s Communication, ‘It was felt that the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth.’ This level of recognition accorded Swami was due to how he began his journey of impact as a young person.
Federal Government through the ministry of Youth and sport should also give Chidiebere an award of recognition and all supports he needs to keep making the country proud
Chidiebere has a rich background of hard work and commitment and will serve as a worthy model to the youths of the country if recognized, awarded and encouraged by the University and Nigerian Government
As a Student in University of Uyo, Chidiebere began publishing his medical illustration on social media, showing conditions like empyema thoracis and seborrheic eczema on Black skin. Many of the images showed skin conditions prevalent with Black people, combating a misrepresentation that often leads to misdiagnosis. The fetus illustration went viral after a Twitter user shared the photo, writing, “I’ve literally never seen a black foetus illustrated, ever.” The post was retweeted more than 50,000 times, and the illustration garnered more than 88,000 “likes” on Instagram and even made its way to TikTok.
Earlier in the week, he presented a TED Talk at Geneva offering his professional knowledge for cooperate learning.
Chidibere Presenting TED Talk in Geneva
The recognition of this historic achievement by the University Vice Chancellor, Professor Nyaudoh Ndaeyo will put a spotlight on the innovative commitment of the University to uphold the template of excellence and philosophy of ‘protecting the UNIUYO BRAND”.