Dr. Juliana Olufunke Lawson

Dr. Juliana Olufunke Lawson is the Vice-Chairman/ Consultant Paediatrician of Zankli Medical Centre, Abuja. She is a Fellow of the West African College of Physicians, Liaison Officer, Nigeria Sickle Cell Disease Network amongst others. She has 22 years of experience as a Consultant Paediatrician
How It All Started
I can remember wanting to be a doctor for as long as my memory can go back. The dream to be a Paediatrician however started at the age of about 12 years when my youngest sister was born. She looked so lovely that I felt the urge to go into a profession that would provide medical care for such and found out that Paediatricians were the ones who take care of children medically.
I had always liked science subjects and Mathematics so there was no problem with my choice of subjects in the secondary school. I gained admission into the University immediately after completing Secondary school in 1979 for a 6 year course which led to award of Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree in 1985. I was particularly interested in Paediatrics postings during my undergraduate studies. I did my Housemanship at the Jos University Teaching Hospital and had to rotate through all the major specialties of Medicine and Surgery during the one year but the most challenging was Pediatrics and it confirmed my determination to specialise in Paediatrics
I did the mandatory 1 year NYSC at the University Staff Clinic in Jos and sat for my Primaries exams in Paediatrics during the period to enable me start the residency programme. I had to however make do with a job in Chemical Pathology for almost a year until there was an opening in the Paediatrics Department when I moved to start my programme in 1989. The training in Chemical Pathology was however not wasted as it was useful to me during my academic and clinical training in Paediatrics. My mentor, Prof Angela Okolo, pushed me hard during the residency and I am grateful for the discipline and an even greater passion for Paediatrics that resulted from that. My family lived in Jos and I did not want to be separated from them to pursue the residency programme out of state. I however had to spend about 9 months at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital during my senior registrar posting because the Jos University Teaching Hospital was not fully accredited for postgraduate Paediatrics residency. This was a challenging period, leaving young children and a husband back home but I stayed with my mother in Lagos and that made it more bearable. My husband and children were ever supportive and I am thankful for that.

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