Pharm. Titilayo Ajayi, one of the newly decorated 92 graduates of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos (UNILAG), has been announced winner of the second edition of the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia award.
The glitzy occasion, which took place during the recent induction and oath-taking ceremony of the graduands at UNILAG’s main auditorium, was witnessed by several pharmacists, lecturers, government officials, parents and well-wishers.
In what turned out to be an emotional moment for the young pharmacist, the entire audience went into a rapture of standing ovation as she climbed the podium to receive her prize.
While congratulating the recipient and explaining the symbolism of the Bowl of Hygeia, Prof. Olukemi Odukoya, former dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, remarked that the pharmacy profession had had to use numerous symbols over the past centuries.
“Its symbols include the Rx sign, the show globe, the green cross, “A” for apothecary (Apotheke), and the mortar and pestle. The Bowl of Hygeia symbol is the most widely recognized international symbol of Pharmacy.
“It might interest you to know that the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos (UNILAG) was the first to start the award last year,” she said.
Odukoya further observed that in Greek mythology, Hygeia was the daughter and assistant of Asklepios, the god of medicine and healing, adding that her historical symbol was a bowl containing a medicinal potion, with the serpent of wisdom partaking of it.
She noted however that the serpent had since been separated from the bowl.
“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.
The former dean said that the Bowl of Hygeia award is the highest award in Pharmacy, nothing that it is usually awarded to a female that possesses an outstanding record of leadership her community.
On the choice of Titilayo for the award, Odukoya said that the selection was hinged on her distinguishing qualities as a scholar.
“As a student (now a pharmacist), she was an admirable, brilliant, coordinated, decent, diligent, graceful, honorable, orderly, obedient, peaceful and punctual!” she announced.
Odukoya further remarked that the bowl of Hygeia was being awarded for the second time in the history of Pharmacy in Nigeria.
In attendance at the event were Pharm (Chief) Yetunde Morohundiya, former national chairman of Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPS); Prof. Duro Oni, deputy vice chancellor (management sciences), UNILAG; Pharm. Ernest Okafor, managing director of Nemitt Pharma Limited , Prof. Boladale Silva, dean of the faculty and Dr Elijah Mohammed, registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN).