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Biographical entry Akpan-Essien, Akpaneyen (1946 - 2011)

BM BCh Nigeria 1975; FRCS 1983.

21 March 1946
Ubium Ibibio Land, Nigeria
10 February 2011
Accident and emergency surgeon and General surgeon


Akpaneyen Akpan-Essien was a consultant surgeon in the Cross River State, Nigeria. He was born on 21 March 1946 in Ubium, Ibibio Land, Nigeria, the son of David Akpan-Essien and Grace Akpan-Essien née Udoekpo, both peasant farmers. His great grandfather was a landowner, general and physician to the clan chief, while his uncle, John Udoekpo, was one of the first doctors to be trained by the British.

Akpan-Essien was educated at the local Ubium district council primary school, then a mission school at Etinan, and went on to take science A levels at the Federal Emergency Science School in Lagos on a scholarship. From 1970 to 1975 he attended the University of Nigeria Medical School, where he was particularly supported by his mentor Fabian Udekwu.

In 1978 he attended the primary course at the Royal College of Surgeons and went on to pass his final examination in 1983. He became a consultant surgeon to the government of the Cross River State in Nigeria, but political and religious crises in the area meant he was forced back to the UK, where he carried out a number of locum appointments as a consultant in accident and emergency units.

He was a founding member of the African Academy in Ubium, which aims to promote education and skills training, and was an academic counsellor to the council of elders of Ubium-Ibibio.

Outside medicine, he enjoyed table tennis, classical music, reading, writing and jogging. He was interested in issues of social justice.

In 1997 he had to retire early due to cancer of the prostate. He died on 10 February 2011, aged 64. He had a daughter, Ekaefe Grace, and a son, Marc Emmanuel Aroud.

Sarah Gillam

The Royal College of Surgeons of England