In our previous post, we wrote about the first male medical practitioner in Nigeria. This time, we shall state who the first Nigerian female medical doctor is.
The first female medical Doctor in Nigeria is Mrs, Dr Abimbola Silva. In 1979, she was honoured with the Officer of the Order of the Niger. She was also the oldest female medical doctor before she died July 19, 2016 at 89 years.
She was born in Lagos on the 17th of May 1926 to the family of Reverend Samuel Charles Phillips and Mrs Evangeline Elizabeth.
Dr Silva started her education at the Caxton House School, Lagos in 1929. The school was a kindergarten started by Mrs Abimbola Gibson (Nee Blaise). From Caxton House, she went on to the CMS Girls’ School on Broad Street in 1931 when she was almost five years old. She finished her secondary education in Grade 1 with a distinction in Mathematics in 1943.
She left for England in 1944 towards the end of the Second World War and was admitted to study Medicine at the University of Liverpool. She graduated in December 1951 and became the first Nigerian woman to graduate in medicine with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B Ch.B) and the third to qualify as a doctor. Two other women had qualified as doctors before her; they were Dr Mrs. Abimbola Awoliyi (who had inspired her) and Dr. Mrs. Amy Nwapa (nee Johnson) both of whom were licentiates.
Nigeria’s first female medical doctor is survived by Biyi Silva, screen queen, Joke Silva, Bisi Silva, Jumoke Daodu and Lape Silva.