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Friday, January 27, 2023

Pediatrician Robbin-Coker Laid to Rest

HomeAYV NewsPediatrician Robbin-Coker Laid to Rest

Pediatrician Robbin-Coker Laid to Rest

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An excellent sportsman, he achieved prominence as part of the school’s soccer and athletics teams. As an all-rounder, his leadership qualities were already evident at Prince of Wales where he first became a prefect and later, senior head prefect. On leaving school he took a position as a teacher at the Sierra Leone Grammar School from January 1954 to August 1955. His academic abilities earned him the opportunity to pursue his educational ambitions, at first through a Bsc. (Hons.) in Physiology at Durham University in England, followed by a degree and qualification as a medical doctor, also at Durham.

After graduating from Durham, he started his medical career as a house officer at the Royal Victoria infirmary in Newcastle-Upon-Tyre. Before returning to Freetown, he specialized in Pediatrics, which became his lifelong passion and vocation until he died.

As a pediatrician back home in Sierra Leone, he became an active fellow of the West African College of Physicians. In recognition of many years of faithful service to the College and his profession, he was bestowed with the College’s highest award, the Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievements, which he received in November 2018.

Not only was he registered as a Medical Practitioner in Sierra Leone, he was also certified in the United Kingdom and The Gambia. As a passionate patriot, he contributed his quota to nation-building by serving in the Sierra Leone Government health service as a pediatrician; he worked as Chief consultant Pediatrician, Ministry of Health and Pediatrician-in-Charge of the Ola During Children’s Hospital, Freetown, from where he retired in 1988, having served there from 1969. In recognition of his contributions to the medicine in Sierra Leone, he was honored with the Officer of the Order of the Rokel (OR) on April 27, 1988. He was also later honored by the Connaught Hospital in April 2012 when the children’s ward was renamed after him.

However, his dedication to his profession and his calling as a doctor were to be tested during the Ebola crisis of 2014-2016. After celebrating his 80th birthday in July 2014, Dr. Robbin-Coker chose to continue active duty, maintaining his clinic to provide medical services to his young patients, right throughout the Ebola outbreak, much against the wishes of his family and numerous friends. He maintained a commitment to the ‘Hippocratic Oath’ and expressed a willingness to “die in active service” rather than to abandon those who needed his expertise and attention.

He is survived by his wife, four biological children amongst many. He is also survived by a sister and a brother.

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