To some it was a tragic story, while to me, it was a case of unfinished greatness and a feat that paved the way for the liberation and educational emancipation of the African women in general and the Nigerian women in particular. Becoming a certified medical doctor as at 1950 in a then world and society full of male chauvinists and sexists is not an easy feat. She deserves to be in Nigeria’s hall of fame.
So what do you know about Ada Priscilla Nzimiro, the first female igbo medical doctor?
Below are the few things I was able to gather from scanty sources on the internet and the library.
1. Ada Priscilla Nzimiro was born on the 30th of April, 1923 in Port Harcourt Nigeria.
2. Her parents were Richard Okwosha Nzimiro (father) and Mary Nwametu Onumonu (mother)
3. Her father was the first Mayor of Port Harcourt in 1956 and died in office in 1959 while her mother was described as a “wealthy merchant” that traded in palm oil, salt and European products.
4. Mary Nwametu Onumonu (1898–1993), was a wealthy merchant, political activist, and member of the NCNC who galvanised Igbo women for the Biafran war effort in 1967 and lost all her landed properties in Port Harcourt after the war due to her role in trying to divide the country.
5. Historians were able to trace her family roots or lineage to Oguta, present-day Imo state.
6. She enrolled for university for education in 1945 in Scotland after her secondary education in Nigeria.
7. She attended medical school, had medical training and earned her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) in 1950 at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
8. She was the first woman from Igboland to graduate as a medical doctor.
9. She died tragically just a year after graduation on the 22nd of March, 1951 at the age of 27.
10. She barely practised medicine for 1 year.
11. The cause of her death was described by historians as “unnatural” yet undisclosed causes.
12. Her sudden demise came as a rude shock to her family, friends and well-wishers
13. She was buried a month after in Oguta, present-day Imo state.
14. She was neither married nor engaged while alive. She had no child.
15. Ada Priscilla Nzimiro parents in their benevolence established two schools at Oguta in 1945, one of which is William Wilberforce Academy (WWA), remamed Priscilla Memorial School to honour her memory and preserve her legacy and feat in medicine.
16. As the first female medical doctor from her region, Nzimiro inspired many young women to pursue medicine as a career.
Conclusion: Though she died too early and couldn’t fulfil her promising medical career, she paved the way for the liberation and education of many women dominating different fields of knowledge today. #Respect to an Amazon#