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Chronicles of medical history in Africa

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Abstract:

Professor and Head of Surgery (1948 – 1958), Beatrice M. Joly was the Foundation Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University College, Ibadan (1948 – 1949). She was born on 14 Dec, 1902; a time when female education was considered unimportant. Beatrice made up her mind very early on what she wanted out of life. She studied Medicine and excelled. She obtained the M.B.B.S. degree in 1930 carting away the best prizes. She went on to pursue a successful postgraduate medical training in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and later in Surgery. She worked briefly as a general physician in 1933 before traveling to India where she became a lecturer and rose to the position of professor seven years after getting her M.B.B.S. degree. In 1947, she came to Nigeria as the first professor appointed to the new University of Ibadan and subsequently contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria’s first University. She was the first Head of department of Surgery and laid the groundwork for subsequent growth of the Department. Beatrice Joly laid the framework for the Department of Surgery which eventually became the 2nd most productive Department in the first 3 decades of the College of Medicine, Ibadan (by publications, 2nd to the Department of Medicine). The Department today is undeniably an asset not only to Nigeria but to Africa. She died on 27th August, 1999. She would always be remembered as a unique woman, a brilliant scholar, an excellent surgeon, and a visionary leader; a pioneer whose contributions have continued to produce excellent specialists who have touched the lives of untold millions all over the continent.

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