NIGERIA’S FIRST FEMALE MEDICAL DOCTOR
Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi was the first female physician in Nigeria. She was born on the 11th of November, 1910, to Mr. David and Mrs. Rufina Akerele and was the fourth child in a family of seven.
She started elementary school at the St. Mary’s Convent in Lagos State, went to Queen’s College, Lagos, before proceeding to Dublin, Ireland, where she studied Medicine.
She graduated from the University of Dublin with first-class honors, including a medal in medicine, a distinction in anatomy, and then qualified as a medical doctor in 1936.
She became a specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics with a diploma in child health. She also got
a diploma in midwifery and was a member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP).
From being a junior medical officer at the Massey Street Hospital, Elizabeth became the Chief Consultant and Medical Director from 1960 to 1969.
She was a member of the Royal College of Physicians (United Kingdom), and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG).
She was a director of the Commercial Medical Store in Lagos and also owned a 27-acre poultry and citrus farm in Agege, Lagos State.
In 1962, the Federal Ministry of Health appointed her as a Senior Specialist Gynaecologist and Obstetrician.
An outstanding philanthropist and a religious woman, she belonged to a number of charities and organizations, which include:
– Girls Association of Nigeria
– The Catholic Women’s Association
– Old Girl’s Association of St. Mary’s Convent School
– St. Anthony’s Guild
– Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos (she was the first President of the Holy Cross Parish Women Council)
– Catholic Ladies Friendly Society
– Motherless Babies Home Governing Council Business and Professional Women’s Association (she was also the President)
– Child Care Voluntary Association (President)
– Young Women’s Christian Association
– Lagos Colony Red Cross
– National Council of Women’s Society (she was the first president of the Lagos Branch).
Her titles and awards include the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), Iya Abiye of Lagos State and the Iyalaje of Oyo Empire. She was also awarded the Nigerian national honour, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).
Her marriage to her husband, Dr. S.O Awoliyi, who was also a medical doctor, produced two children.
She died on the 14th of September, 1971. She was 60.
Source:: Nigerian Chatter