Introduction

The term ‘biomedical’ implies a greater emphasis on problems related to human health and diseases. Biomedical Technology is the synergy of Biotechnology and Medical Technology which consists of the applications of biological and medical engineering in solving problems related to man. It is concerned with the theory, design and production of biomedical systems, components and devices used in the basic levels of health care: Preventive, Therapeutic and Rehabilitative. Therefore, Biomedical Technology (BMT) broadly means the application of engineering principles and concepts to the area of living systems with the main emphasis on problems related to human health and diseases. It is often loosely called Biomedical Engineering which is primarily for health care purposes.

Man can be said to be a living machine performing according to the grand design of nature and therefore is amenable to various analytical considerations – a good number of which require engineering principles and practice. Thus, it became pragmatic for professionals in engineering and medicine to cooperate in the emerging and potentially lucrative and exciting field of biomedical technology.

Biomedical Technology is the modern application of biomedical engineering which involves the design, analysis and synthesis of healthy human systems or its components. The Design component is the general planning of a system; Analysis is the study of a system by examining its parts and their relationship; while Synthesis is the combination of separate things or subsystems to form a system or complete whole. It is based on the understanding of pure sciences like mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. However, Biology and Medicine form the major basis for Biomedical Engineering Technology.

Biomedical Engineering Technology, which is the focus of the Departmental programme, is the melting pot of all engineering disciplines applicable to biology and medicine. The programme is mainly concerned with the synthesis of appropriately relevant aspects of all engineering disciplines in tackling preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative challenges in Medicine. For instance, the students are trained on how to basically employ the principles and practice of Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering in the scientific study and resolution of practical problems in Medicine.

Clinical Engineering, an aspect of Biomedical Technology, involves medical measurements, developments of devices and interaction with relevant aspects of clinical practice. A graduate Clinical Engineer /Technologist naturally becomes an interface between the various medical equipment and the patient under the management and supervision of the Clinician. The programme, therefore, inculcates in her students the applications of the fundamentals of mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology to solve medically-relevant problems.

The functional activities of graduates of biomedical engineering / technology include medical device design, fabrication, and testing, prosthetics fabrication, ergonomics and human factors monitoring, physiological functions monitoring, home healthcare technology development, biomedical informatics, functional imaging and tomography, biomaterial development with biocompatibility, artificial tissue and organ fabrication, cell and biomolecule-based sensors, therapeutics, gene therapy development, biomedical microsystems and management.

Despite the current diversity of Biomedical Technology, its scope continues to change, and grow rapidly with advances in biology, materials science, medicine and technology. The Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) Biomedical Technology programme is primarily concerned with Health Care Equipment Research, Development, Installation, Use and Maintenance; Healthcare Data-Processing; Tissue and Regenerative Engineering; Rehabilitative Technology and Bioenergetics; Biomaterial and Pharmaceutical Technology for optimal healthcare delivery in the developing world.

Brief History

In line with the FUTO mandate for health technology, the curriculum for Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) in Biomedical Technology was developed by a team of experts drawn from the School of Health Technology; School of Engineering and Engineering Technology; School of Science; Nigeria Institute of Biomedical Engineering and other stakeholders.

FUTO pioneered the Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) degree programme in Biomedical Engineering/Technology in Nigeria, perhaps in sub-Saharan Africa. This programme was named Physiotherapeutic Technology in 2003/2004. It changed to Physiokinetics and Biomedical Technology in 2007/2008 and to the current Biomedical Technology in 2009/2010, as recommended by the National Universities Commission following an accreditation visit.

The Department had her first batch of relevant academic staff in 2005 with a Medical Biochemist, Dr C.G. Osuagwu as the pioneer Ag. Head of Department. Dr S.C. Iwuji was the first Examination/ Time Table Officer for about 6 years before Engr. K.O. Ejeta took over.

Professor G.C. Okoye, a Professor of Bioengineering and Rehabilitation Medicine, on sabbatical from University of Nigeria Enugu Campus became the Head of Department from 2008 to 2010 academic session.

Dr G.I.N. Ndubuka, a Senior Pathologist headed the Department from 2011 to July 2017 when the 4th Head of Department was appointed.

Dr S.C. Iwuji is a Physiologist & Safety Pharmacologist was returned from the Department of Human and Applied Physiology where he pioneered HOD until June 30, 2017. He successfully led the Department during the December 4-7, 2017 NUC re-accreditation exercise.

Some graduates of the Department are undergoing higher degree studies in renowned Universities within and outside Africa. Some are employed in the healthcare sector because of the dearth of Biomedical Engineers/ Technologists in Nigeria. Some graduates are into teaching, research and development. Some are into marketing and supply of biomedical equipment/installations. Others are utilizing their acquired skills in related private enterprises.

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Engr. Dr. Azeez, T. Oladimeji

HOD, Biomedical Technology View Profile

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