Prof. PAO Odhiambo, 1990 - 1991
Prof. PAO Odhiambo, 1990 - 1991

Prof.Peter Amollo Odhiambo is an academic giant in the University of Nairobi’s (UoN) Department of Surgery.  He attended Gendia Intermediate School and Omboga & Dudi Primary Schools before joining Kisii High School in 1957-60. He undertook his undergraduate training in Medicine in India and was awarded MBBS degree in 1968 after which he worked in Calcutta from 1969 to 1970 as an intern, junior and senior house surgeon. When he returned to Kenya, he first worked as an orientating intern in 1971 and thereafter was posted to Muranga District Hospital as Medical Officer in charge of District Surgery.

He moved to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in 1972 as a Senior House Officer (SHO) and was among the first students who trained as General Surgeons in the Department of Surgery of UoN graduating with an Master of Medicine (MMed. Surg) degree in 1975. He thereafter proceeded to the United Kingdom for specialized training in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and in 1978 became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (UK) and was later in 2005 accepted as a fellow of the American College of Cardiology (USA).  He is also a fellow of the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) and a member of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences (KNAS).

He undertook fellowship training in Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery between 1976-78 and has been a visiting lecturer North America. He was made an associate professor in 1988 and became a full professor of UoN in the year 2000. He acted as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine now School of Medicine) many times between 1989-1992 before being elected as Dean for two consecutive terms between 1992-96. His tenure as Dean of faculty was characterized by many exciting changes and developments which resulted from his dynamic stewardship.

Prof.PA or PAO as he is fondly called by faculty and students has been called upon to sit on many national, UoN, Mater Hospital and KNH committees. He has been the Editor of the African Journal of Hospital Medicine (MEDICOM) since July 1979 and through this journal he has contributed to the career advancement of many academic members of staff.

He is affiliated to or sits on the board of many professional and non-professional societies, institutions and organizations. The passion he has for the fight against the negative effects of tobacco and alcohol is not only exemplified by the stickers at the back of his car but by his activities including being Chairman of Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (KETCA) from 2006 to date and Chairman of the Tobacco Control Board of the Ministry of Health of Kenya.

He has supervised many post-graduate student researches, published many articles, and presented innumerable papers, delivered many key-note addresses and written manuals and books.  Many of the undergraduate and post-graduate students who he has taught consider him to be the teacher par excellence and it is a wonder that a national decoration is not one of his accolades. Many patients have benefited from his surgical expertise particularly those suffering from cardiac, thoracic and vascular diseases.

Professor PA was chairman from 1990-91 and he is still a faculty member and continues to exhibit resilience, dedication to duty and devotion to the welfare of mankind that cannot be equaled by many. PAO as he is sometimes popularly referred to is certainly a distinguished citizen, member of the faculty of Department of Surgery of the University of Nairobi and indeed of the entire medical fraternity of Kenya.