Pharm. Linda Okeke (2nd left) receiving the “Bowl of Hygeia” from Pharm. Bukky George, managing director of HealthPlus Pharmacy, to the admiration of her parents and Prof. Olukemi Odukoya, dean of the Faculty (far right).
Young Pharm. Linda Chidinma Okeke has been announced winner of the maiden edition of the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia award in Nigeria.
The newly decorated pharmacist, who was among 138 graduates of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos (UNILAG) whose induction and oath-taking ceremony took place on 5 March 2015, was given a standing ovation, as she climbed the podium to receive her prize.
During the award presentation, Prof. Olukemi Odukoya, dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, explained that the Bowl of Hygeia award is the highest award in Pharmacy, adding that it is usually awarded to pharmacists that possess outstanding records of civic leadership in their communities.
“Our community is a community of scholars primarily for students. On the occasion of the celebration of 30 years of pharmaceutical excellence in the University of Lagos, the Bowl of Hygeia is being awarded for the first time in the history of Pharmacy in Nigeria,” she intoned.
Odukoya further stressed that the choice of Okeke was hinged on her outstanding qualities and contributions within the faculty.
“As a student, she was an admirable, brilliant (with a CGPA of 4.43), coordinated, decent, diligent, elegant, fantastic, graceful, honourable, intelligent, joyful, orderly, obedient, peaceful and punctual student – now a pharmacist!” she announced.
Remarking on the symbolism of the Bowl of Hygeia, Odukoya noted that the pharmaceutical profession had used numerous symbols over the past centuries, includingt he Rx sign, the show globe, the green cross, the “A” sign for apothecary (Apotheke), and the current mortar and pestle, otherwise known as the Bowl of Hygeia.
“The Bowl of Hygeia is the most widely recognised international symbol of Pharmacy,” she said.
She further narrated that, in Greek mythology, Hygeia was the daughter and assistant of Asklepios, the god of medicine and healing. Hygeia’s classical symbol was a bowl containing a medicinal potion with the serpent of wisdom partaking in it, she said, adding however that the serpent image is now popularly represented with a pestle.
“Now the bowl represents a medicinal potion, and the snake represents the pestle to make the medicines for healing. Healing through medicine is precisely why Pharmacy has adopted the Bowl of Hygeia Symbol,” she stressed.
In attendance at the event were Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, provost, College of Medicine, UNILAG; Dr (Mrs) Taiwo Ipaye, registrar, UNILAG; Prof. Duro Oni, deputy vice chancellor (management sciences), UNILAG; Dr (Mrs) Olukemi Fadehan, University Librarian, UNILAG; and Mrs Yetunde Situ, director of treasury, representing the bursar.
Others were Pharm. N.A.E Mohammed, registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN); Pharm. Ike Onyechi, chairman of the occasion; Prof. Babajide Alo, deputy vice chancellor (academics and research) representing the vice chancellor; and Pharm. Bukky George, managing director of HealthPlus Pharmacy.