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FIRST WOMEN: First Nigerian Woman To Become A Physician


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Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi is the first female doctor in Nigeria.

She was born on the 11th of November, 1910, to Mr and Mrs. 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.

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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.

Elizabeth became the first West African female medical doctor with Licentiate of the Royal Surgeon (Dublin) with a diploma in gynaecology and obstetrics at the Trinity College, Dublin.

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 acres poultry and citrus farm in Agege, Lagos State.

In 1962, the Federal Ministry of Health appointed her as a Senior Specialist Gynaecologist and Obstetrician.

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, at age 61.


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