Many are aware that the medical profession is a respectable one which can’t be dared by the unintelligent. But not many have heard about the first West African female medical doctor who happened to be a Nigerian.
Agnes Yewande, who was born in Edinburg, Scotland on February 21, 1906, was the first West African female doctor.
At the age of 19, Savage gained entrance into the Royal College of Music and was awarded a scholarship to study at George Watson’s Ladies College.
Apart from being the first female medical doctor in West Africa, she was also the first West African woman to receive a university degree after graduating from a medical school in 1929 at a young age of 23.
Her father, Richard Akiwande Savage Sr, who was also a medical doctor, married a Scotswoman named S. Bowie.
Her only sibling was Richard Gabriel Akinwande Savage, also a doctor.
Savage gained admission into Edinburgh University to major in medicine. While in the university, Savage did extremely well that in 1929, she was awarded the Dorothy Gilfillan Memorial Prize as the best woman graduate.
Savage faced gender and racial discrimination in her career while working with the colonial service in God Coast (present-day Ghana)
She received a meagre wage and also lived in the servants’ quarters despite the fact that she was better qualified than most of her male counterparts.
Savage would later work as a teacher and medical officer at Achimota College, in 1931. She spent four years at Achimota as a medical officer and a teacher.
However, with the help of the headmaster of Achimota College, Andrew Fraser, the colonial government gave her a better contract and she returned to the medical service. This time around, her wage and job benefits were pushed to equilibrium with her colleagues.
She was put in charge of the infant welfare clinics, associated with Korle Bu Hospital in Accra.
Savage would later supervise the establishment of a training school for nurses, Korle-Bu Nurses Training College.
In 1947, Savage retired and spent the remainder of her life in Scotland where she focused on raising her niece and nephew. In 1964, she died of stroke.
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