Dr. Ehiedu Osemiha, a dentist in the Nigerian Air Force, who left Nigeria with his wife and son for Canada in 2014 has qualified to practice Dentistry in Canada.
Prior to his emmigration from Nigeria, Osemiha survived a Boko Haram attack while serving in the Nigerian Air Force.
Osemiha, who first graduated in dentistry in 2004 from the University of Lagos, recalls that he joined the military “solely for adventure,” attaining the rank of major. In 2014, he was providing dental care at a camp in northern Nigeria.
Narrating his ordeal, he recalled that he left the camp in a vehicle with five other people, they were ambushed by Boko Haram terrorists. He was shot through the lower leg while escaping, being the only survivor.
He said, “It jolted me to the reality that I had to think of a better, safer life for myself and my family,”
“Leaving Nigeria for Canada was like jumping into the ocean, hoping to catch a goldfish,” said the genial 42-year-old, known by the nickname “Chuks.”
After he and his family immigrated to Canada in 2014, they landed in Alberta, Osemiha spent months studying for the qualifying exams for the The International Dentist Degree Program (IDDP) while he and his wife held various jobs to make ends meet.
In 2017, after moving several times and welcoming another son, they came to Winnipeg, where Osemiha had earned a coveted spot in the IDDP.
The International Dentist Degree Program (IDDP) at the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences was Osemiha’s pathway to Canadian accreditation. Each year, it accepts a handful of foreign-trained dentists, adding them to an existing class for the final two years of the four-year degree program.
About 110 applicants compete for roughly six spots in the program each year. Along with Osemiha, the Class of 2019 included dentists trained in Colombia, Hungary and Poland.
Attaining his Canadian goal took great perseverance, but on May 23, Osemiha caught his fish. He walked across the U of M convocation platform to receive his doctor of dental medicine degree. “I’ve reached the end of the whole struggle,” he said.
Osemiha was awarded the Class of 1999 Dr. Lawrence Stockton Memorial Prize for the IDDP graduate who demonstrates the greatest improvement in restorative dentistry, as well as excellent communication skills and the qualities of a positive role model.
Dr. Ehiedu Osemiha, now a Canadian citizen practice Dentistry at two different hospitals in his new found country
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