Deceased Academicians

Thomas Adeoye Lambo (Prasad Ashoka)


Thomas Adeoye Lambo (Prasad Ashoka)

Date of birth 29 March 1923

Place Abeokuta, Nigeria (Africa)

Nomination 24 June 1974

Field Psychiatry and Neurology

Title Emeritus Professor at the University of Ibadan

Place and date of death † 13 March 2004

  • Biography
  • Publications

Most important awards, prizes and academies Awards
N.N.O.M., Nigerian National Order of Merit (1979); C.O.N., Commander of the Order of Niger (1979); O.B.E. (1962); First African Winner of the Haile Selassie African Research Award (1970). Academies: Pontifical Academy of Sciences; Honorary Member, Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences; Honorary Fellowship, Royal College of Psychiatrists of London; Honorary Fellowship, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Summary of scientific research
T.A. Lambo’s scientific research can be summarized under three major headings: 1) The impact of culture and social environment on mental health. Beginning with the early clinical studies on mental health and behaviour problems among African university students in the UK, and up to large-scale epidemiological investigations into psychiatric disorders among the Yoruba in Nigeria (in collaboration with A. Leighton et al.) and the International Pilot Study of Schizophrenia (a collaborative study in nine countries, coordinated by WHO), Lambo’s work has highlighted the cultural dimension of mental health and mental illness and the psychological effects of social change. The detailed neuropsychiatric observations of the phenomenology and course of mental disorders among the Yoruba laid the foun dations for the development of a clinical psychiatry of a distinct Nigerian style and inspiration, and demonstrated at the same time the universal nature of the mechanisms maintaining mental health or producing mental discorder. This work culminated in the creation of the Aro Hospital and the therapeutic village associated with it, the first experiment in blending traditional and modern approaches to mental healing. The Aro complex became the first WHO collaborating centre for mental health research and training on the African continent. 2) The promotion and coordination of global research efforts to combat tropical and parasitic diseases. In his capacity as Deputy Director General of WHO, Lambo played a seminal role in the initiation and growth of a broad research programme, uniting the efforts of leading scientists all over the world and leading towards radically new methods and technologies for overcoming the burden of diseases affecting no less than 2/3 of the world’s population. 3) Contributions to the philosophy of science and human development. In a series of publications and lectures, Lambo elaborated a humanistic view of development, placing man and his spiritual potential, rather than material affluence, at the centre of concern. The implications of this world view for education, international relations, health care, and science have been examined in detail.

Main publications
Lambo, T.A., ‘The role of cultural factors in paranoid psychoses among the Yoruba tribe’, J. Ment. Sci., 101, pp. 239-266 (1955); Lambo, T.A., ‘Neuropsychiatric observations in the Western Region of Nigeria’, Brit. Med. J., ii, pp. 1388-1394 (1956); Lambo, T.A., ‘Some unusual features of schizophrenia among primitive peoples’, W. Afr. Med. J., 6, pp. 147-152 (1957); Lambo, T.A., ‘Psychiatric syndromes associated with cerebrovascular disorders in the African’, J. Ment. Sci., 104, pp. 133-143 (1958); Lambo, T.A., ‘University life and the problems of self-discovery and self-direction’, Ibadan, 4, pp. 17-19 (1958); Lambo, T.A., ‘Rapid development can threaten mental health’, paper presented on World Health Day, 7 April 1959, Lagos, Nigeria (1959); Lambo, T.A., ‘Patterns of psychiatric disorders in Africa’, paper presented at Jacob-Schiff Lecture, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (1960); Lambo, T.A., A report on the study of social and health problems of Nigerian students in Britain and Ireland, West Nigeria, Govt. Printer (1960); Lambo, T.A., ‘The problems of individuals in a changing African culture’, Paper presented at 1st Nat. Level Staff Dept. & Human Relations Training Inst. Lagos (1961); Lambo, T.A., Psychiatric disorders among the Yoruba, Cornell Univ. Press (1963); Lambo, T.A., ‘Psychiatry in the Tropics’, Lancet, ii, pp. 1119-1121 (1965); Lambo, T.A., ‘Social and psychological change, human needs in developing countries of Africa’, Stockholm, Nobel Symposium, 14 (1969); Lambo, T.A., ‘The African mind in contemporary conflict’, Jacques Parisot Lecture, Twenty fourth Wld Hlth Assembly, WHO Chronicle 25, No. 8 (1971); Lambo, T.A., ‘Aggressiveness in the human life cycle within different sociocultural settings’, Intl. Soc. Sci. J., 23, No. 1 (1971); Lambo, T.A., ‘Psychobiological development of the African population with special emphasis on culture as regulator of human behaviour’, Lecture, Brazilian Soc. Adv. Science, Rio de Janeiro (1973); Lambo, T.A., ‘Facts and fallacies: research & development for the Third World’, Westbrook Memorial Lecture, Vancouver (1973); Lambo, T.A., ‘Human development and national progress as goals of social work education’, 17th Conf. Int. Assn. Schools Social Work, Nairobi (1974).