Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi

Chief Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi, MBE, OFR (née Akerele, 1910–14 September 1971) was the first woman to practise as a physician in Nigeria.[1] She was also the first West African woman to earn a license of Royal Surgeon in Dublin.[1][2] In 1938, Elizabeth Awoliyi became the second West African woman to qualify as an orthodox-medicine trained physician after Agnes Yewande Savage who graduated from medical school in 1929.[3] She was the second president of the National Council of Women's Societies of Nigeria from 1964 until her death in 1971.[4]


Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi

Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi.png
Born1910
Lagos, Nigeria
Died14 September 1971(1971-09-14) (aged 60–61)
NationalityNigerian
Alma mater
OccupationPhysician
Known for
Relatives
  • S. O. Awoliyi (husband)
  • Olatunji Awoliyi (son)

LifeEdit

She was born in Lagos, Nigeria, to the Aguda family of David Evaristo and Rufina Akerele.[1] She commenced her education at St. Mary's Catholic School, Lagos from where she proceeded to Queen's College, Lagos.[5] She earned her medical degree in 1938 from the University of Dublin, Cafreys College.[6][7][8] She graduated from Dublin with first class honors, including a medal in Medicine and distinction in Anatomy. She became the first West African woman to be awarded a licentiate of Royal Surgeon in Dublin.[1][2] She was a member of the Royal College of Physicians (United Kingdom) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology and a Diplomate of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.[1][2]

She returned to Nigeria and became a gynaecologist and junior medical officer at the Massey Street Hospital Lagos. She later became a chief consultant and Medical Director at that hospital, holding the latter position from 1960 through 1969.[2] In 1962, she was appointed as a senior specialist gynaecologist and obstetrician by the Federal Ministry of Health.[2]

Some of her awards are: Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), Iya Abiye of Lagos, Iyalaje of Oyo Empire, and Nigerian National Honor – Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).[2]

The novel Return to Life, by her son Tunji Awoliyi, is dedicated to her.[9]

She is mentioned in "Chapter Six: Nigerian Heroines of the 20th Century" in the book Nigerian heroes and heroines: and other issues in citizenship education, by Godwin Chukwuemeka Ezeh.[10]

Dr. Abimbola Awoliyi Memorial Hospital is located in Lagos Island, Lagos, Nigeria.[11]

Elizabeth Awoliyi dabbled in private enterprise – owning a 27-acre poultry and orange farm in Agege, Lagos and becoming director of the commercial medical store in Lagos.[2]

NCWSEdit

Elizabeth Awoliyi was the pioneer president of the Lagos branch of the National Council of Women's Societies (NCWS) and a member of the national committee of the organization.[12] As a member, she contributed to various policies and activities of the women's organization. She negotiated for the gift of a national headquarters located at Tafawa Balewa Square and was a consultant to the organization's family planning clinic which later became the planned parenthood federation of Nigeria.[12] She succeeded Kofo Ademola as the second president of the NCWS in 1964.

Leadership and philanthropy[2]Edit

  • Holy Cross Cathedral Lagos, where she became the first president of the Holy Cross Parish Women Council.
  • Motherless babies Home Governing Council
  • Business and Professional Women's Association (president)
  • Child Care Voluntary Association (President)
  • Lagos Colony Red Cross
  • National Council of Women's Society (Also became the first President of the Lagos branch)

Personal lifeEdit

Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi was married to physician Dr. S. O. Awoliyi and had two children; a son and a daughter.[2] Her husband died in 1965. Dr Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi died on 14 September 1971 at the age of 61.[2]

Awards and honoursEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Yinka Vidal (4 March 2015). How to Prevent the Spread of Ebola: Effective Strategies to Reduce Hospital Acquired Infections. Lara Publications Inc. pp. 7–. ISBN 978-0-9640818-8-8. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tabitha Admin (12 March 2015). "Celebrating African Women in Medicine". Tabitha Medical Center. Archived from the original on 6 December 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  3. ^ "CAS Students to Lead Seminar On University's African Alumni, Pt. IV: Agnes Yewande Savage". CAS from the Edge. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  4. ^ Ojewusi 1996, p. 283.
  5. ^ Lagos Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women Organisation (2000). Mobilising for Action. Dedun Educational Books, Indiana University. p. 47. ISBN 9789788013037.
  6. ^ Musliu Olaiya Anibaba (2003). A Lagosian of the 20th century: an autobiography. Tisons Limited. ISBN 9789783557116.
  7. ^ Godwin Chukwuemeka Ezeh (2004). Nigerian heroes and heroines: and other issues in citizenship education. Mike Social Press, 2004. p. 97.
  8. ^ Tabitha Admin (12 March 2015). "Celebrating African Women in Medicine". Tabitha Medical Center. Archived from the original on 6 December 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  9. ^ Awoliyi, Tunji (18 November 2006). Return to Life - Tunji Awoliyi - Google Books. ISBN 9789781261916. Archived from the original on 17 June 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  10. ^ Ezeh, Godwin Chukwuemeka (2004). "Nigerian heroes and heroines: and other issues in citizenship education - Godwin Chukwuemeka Ezeh - Google Books". Archived from the original on 6 May 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Dr Abimbola Awoliyi Memorial Hospital in 183,Bamgbose Street, Lagos Island, Lagos, Nigeria | VConnect™". Vconnect.com. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  12. ^ a b Ojewusi 1996, p. 288.

SourcesEdit

  • Ojewusi, Sola (1996). Speaking for Nigerian women: (a history of the National Council of Women's Societies, Nigeria). Abuja: All State Pub. and Print. Co.