1. West  African  College  of  Physicians  (WACP)  was  ushered  into  existence  on  13th  December,  1972  as  part  of  the  West  African  Postgraduate  Medical  College  (WAPMC).  Together  with  the  sister  College  -  West  African  College  of  Surgeons  (WACS),  it  formed  an  organ  of  the  West  African  Health  Organisation  (WAHO).
  2. WACP  was  formally  inaugurated  on  Saturday  23rd  October,  1976  in  Lagos  with  5  Faculties.
  3. When  the  constitution of  the  WAPMC  was  drafted,  Dr  Nicholas  de  Heer,  a  Community  Health  Physician  moved  for  the  inclusion  of  the  Faculty  of  General  Medical  Practice  into  the  constitution.
  4. To  buttress  the  need  for  WACP  to  have  a  Faculty  of  General  Medical  Practice  (GMP),  Dr  S.  Dodu,  a  Ghanian  Internist  who  delivered  the  Inaugural  Lecture  on  23rd  October,  1976  highlighted  a  comment  credited  to  Sir  Heneage  Oglivie  that  “In  many  countries  the  rapid  growth  of  specialization  (sometimes  arrogantly  referred  to  as  super-specialization)  has  created  an  imbalance  of  the  manpower  mix  at  the  postgraduate  level.  As  a  result  patients  are  now  clamouring  for  a  Primary  Care  Specialist  who  is  scientifically  competent  and  at  the  same  time  humanely  concerned  about  the  total  needs  of  the  patient  as  a  whole  person”
  5. At  the  WACP  Annual  AGSM  in  Monrovia,  Liberia  in  November,  1979,  Dr  (Mrs)  Pobee  of  Ghana  and  late  Dr  C. A. Pearson  who  had  done  a  lot  of  work  in  establishing  the  Faculty  of  General  Medical  Practice,  National  Postgraduate  Medical  College  of  Nigeria  (NPMCN)  were  included  in  an  adhoc  subcommittee  on  GMP  training.
  6. In  1985,  Dr  Pearson  wrote  to  the  Secretary  of  Nigeria  Chapter  of  WACP  urging  the  setting  up  of  a  Faculty  of  GMP  to  organise  and  supervise  the  training  of  GMP  specialists  in  the  West  African  region.
  7. The  Faculty  of  GMP  was  inaugurated  in  the  November  1986  AGSM  in  Monrovia,  Liberia  with  the  following  number  of  Foundation  Fellows:  78  in  Nigeria;  20  in  Ghana;  11  in  Liberia;  8  in  Sierra  Leone  and  3  in  The  Gambia.
  8. In  1987  Dr  Henry  Adewoye,  the  Secretary  of  WACP  invited  Dr  A. O. Sangowawa  who was  Director  of  Training,  Faculty  of  GMP,  NPMCN  to  organise  a  Faculty  of  General  Medical  Practice.  He  was  mandated  to  draw  up  a  curriculum  thereby  laying  the  foundation  for  spreading  the  message  of  training  General  Practitioners  to  becoming  Family  Physicians  in  the  West  African  region.  This  invitation  letter  Ref  number  WACP/C/1  of  5th  October,  1987  from  Dr  Adewoye  to  Dr  Sangowawa  is  hereby  included  -  see  Appendix 1
  9. Excerpts  from  Dr  Adewoye’s  letter  are  hereby  quoted  verbatim:       “You  have  already  received  a  letter  of  congratulations  on  your  admission  into  the  West  African  College  of  Physicians.  As  you  know  the  twelfth  Annual  General  and  Scientific  Meeting  of  the  West  African  College  of  Physicians  will  hold  in  Lagos.  The  Faculty  of  GMP  of  the  College  is  meeting  for  the  first  time  on  Monday  16th  November  at  9.00am  at  the  Federal  Palace  Hotel  ( actual  venue  will  be  communicated  to  you  later)  Since  the  Faculty  will  be  meeting  for  the  first  time  there  is  need  for  somebody  with  experience  to  act  as  Faculty organiser. “The  President  in  Council  have  asked  me  to  invite  you  to  organise  this  Faculty.  This  involves  drawing  of  agenda  for  that  day,  organising  election  for  Faculty  Chairman  and  Secretary  and  organising  a  committee  to  look  into  the  training  programme  of  the  Faculty  as  well  as  examinations.  We  will  like  to  know  how  soon  the  examinations  can  begin  and  suggest  names  of  examiners.  You  are  allowed  5  statutory  examiners  per  faculty  and  one  of  them  would  be  elected  Chief  Examiner.  The  officers  will  hold  office  for  one  year  in  the  first  instance. “You  are  also  to  discuss  the  colour  of  the  tassel  for  your  cap  and  it  has  been  suggested  that  the  tassel  should  be  a  blend  of  the  colours  of  the  other  faculties -  Gold,  Red,  White,  Blue  and  Green”
  10. Dr  Sangowawa  responded  to  Dr  Adewoye’s  invitation  via  a  letter  dated  12th  October,  1987  which  is  hereby  quoted  verbatim – see  Appendix 11 “I  am  grateful  for  your  letter  of  5th  October,  1987  inviting  me  to  act  as  the  organiser  for  the  Faculty  of  General  Medical  Practice  of  the  West  African  College  of  Physicians.  I  accept  this  offer  with  great  honour  and  humility. “I  will  like  to  have  a  list  of  names  and  addresses  of  the  Foundation  Fellows  of  the  College.
  11. Minutes  of  the  16th  November,  1987  of  the  First  Meeting  of  the  Faculty  of  General  Practice  is  hereby  included  - see  Appendix 111.  Dr  C. A. Pearson  was  unanimously  elected  Temporary  Chairman  for  the  day,  while  Dr A. O. Sangowawa  who  was  the  Convener  of  the  meeting  read  a  welcome  address  which  formed  the  basis  of  discussion  -  see  Appendix  IV.
  12. Item  87/6,  page 2  of  the  minutes  read  thus: “At  this  stage  Dr  Adesanya  moved  that  Dr  Sangowawa  be  elected  the  Faculty  Secretary,  this  motion  was  seconded  by  Dr  Ogbeide,  and  was  unanimously  carried.  It  was  thought  that  we  were  not  ready  to  elect  a  Chairman  and  Dr  Sangowawa  should  carry  the  responsibilities  alone  at  present.
  13. Item  87/8,  page 2  of  the  minutes  on  curriculum  read  thus: “It  was  decided  that  we  have  to  concentrate  on  curriculum  development  suitable  for  each  Chapter.  At  this  point,  Dr  Sangowawa  pointed  out  that  this  should  be  uniform  as  the  examinations  will  be  the  same.  Dr  Pearson  and  Dr  Oni  gave  the  Nigeria  example  of  the  workshop  in  1980  for  development  of  the  Nigerian  curriculum  in  which  the  Nigerian  Medical  Council,  the  Ministry  of  Health,  British,  Egyptian  and  Canadian  experts  in  Medical  Education  in  General  Practice  participated  and  wondered  whether  this  was  possible.  It  was  decided  that  the  workshops  should  be  at  grass  root  levels  and  should  aim  at  causing  awareness  of  academic  general  practice  among  the  grass  root.
  14. A curriculum development committee was set up with Dr. Sangowawa, Dr.  Amegashie and Dr.  Onwudiwe  as  members.  The  National Postgraduate  Medical  College  of  Nigeria  -  GMP  curriculum  was  to  be  used  as  a  template  for  developing  the  Faculty’s  curriculum  and  the  committee  was  charged  to  complete  the  assignment  within  6  months.
  15. Item  87/12  of  the  minutes  on  Primary  Examinations  stated  thus: “Dr. Pearson  observed  that  the  Faculty  will  have  to  get  a  dispensation  from  the  College  for  its  own  Primary  Examination  to  include  surgical  topics.
  16. The  first  Primary  Examination  was  conducted  in  October  1988;  the  first  success  in  the  Part 1  Examinations  was  in  April  1992;  while  the  first  Fellows  by  Examinations  were  produced  in  October  1994  in  the  persons  of  Dr. K. M. Alabi, Dr. S. Yohanna and Dr. K.O. Adubari.
  17. By  1993  the  Faculty  of  General  Practice  produced  its  First  Convocation  Lecture  which  was  delivered  by  Dr.  A. O. Sangowawa  at  the  Gambia  AGSM.
  18. In  2002  Dr. S. Tor-Agbidye  formally  moved  to  change  the  nomenclature  “FACULTY  OF  GENERAL  PRACTICE”   to  “FACULTY  OF  FAMILY  MEDICINE”  to  conform  with  the  global  trend  of  regarding  Specialist  General  Practitioners  as  Family  Physicians.

The objectives of the family medicine training for the WACP are:

  • To develop and extend the knowledge, skills and attitudes to manage any clinical problems within the sphere of expected competency, using the principles of systems theory (bio-psychosocial model) and in the context of family, work and community.
  • To prepare for positions of leadership in research, good clinical practice, teaching and management of resources.
  • To develop the habit of keeping good records for promoting continuity of care and good clinical practice audit.
  • To appreciate the doctor’s role in health promotion and disease prevention.
  • To recognise the need to engage in professional development through continuing medical education.
  • To demonstrate effective communication skills and maintain appropriate doctor-patient relationship.
  • To acquire knowledge in medico-legal and ethical issues.
  • To show competence in the use of relevant modern diagnostic and therapeutic aids7.

As a regulation, the curriculum was to be reviewed every 5 years this was done in 1988. An international curriculum review was organized in 1998 (after 10 years) jointly by the Faculty of GMP of the NPMCN and the WACP on “Training the Front-Line Doctor for the 21st Century”, principally addressing the paradigm shift of the curriculum to embrace Family Medicine as it pertained globally.

The specialty of Family Medicine was defined as that which provides continuous, comprehensive and coordinated care to individual families and populations undifferentiated by age, gender, disease or organization. This landmark event also was the birth of the Academy of Family Physicians of Nigeria (AFPON) now known as the Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria (SOFPON). This is an umbrella association for all Family Physicians practicing in Nigeria irrespective of their training background. The body holds Annual General and Scientific meetings yearly. Family Physicians from all over the world belong to WONCA – World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians.

In keeping with the five-yearly mandates to review the family medicine postgraduate curriculum, another international conference was held in 2005 in Ibadan (2 years late) to commemorate “25 years of Family Medicine” in Nigeria. The curricula of the faculties at both colleges were reviewed and the “Tenets of Family Medicine and Family Dynamics” were highlighted at this conference and incorporated into the curriculum.

In 2013, the faculty of Family Medicine in the WACP initiated the process of getting family medicine to our francophone speaking colleagues in the West African coast. This was a response to the call of the President of the WACP then Prof. Roger Makanjuala in 2008 to make the WACP a truly West African College.

There are now over 300 fellows by examinations working in the

—Private practices

—Outpatient departments of teaching hospitals,


—Oil companies,


—Local government areas,

—International development agencies