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Susan Ofori-Atta: Ghana's first female physician

Invented the word Kwashiorkor
Susan Ofori-Atta:  Ghana's first female physician
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Susan Barbara Gyankorama Ofori-Atta, alias de Graft-Johnson was William Ofori Atta ( Paa Willie, see previous article) sister, was the first female doctor, and first woman to earn a university degree in the gold coast. Susan was the 3rd West African woman to become a physician.

Susan was born in Kyebi ( Easter region of Ghana) in 1917 to Nana Sir Ofori Atta 1, the paramount chief of Akyem Abakwa, and his wife, Nana Akosua Duodo.

St. Mary's Convent Elmina (1921) was Susan's primary school. She went to Achimota school for her secondary education, were she was a girls prefect in her final year. After, she went to Korle-Bubu midwifery trianing school and graduated in 1935. She went to Scotland for further midwife trianing. Then she practised midwifery at Korle-Bu teaching hospital. She then furthered her education, with sponsorship from her father, at Edinburgh university medical school, and obtained a MBChB degree in 1947.

She qualified as a paediatrician, in 1960. She volunteered at an understaffed Congolese hospital. Later she became a medical officer and mmofra doctor, at Princess Marie Louise hospital. She left and joined the University of Ghana medical school, and was a founding member of the paediatric department, before she started her private practice for women and children at her clinic, the Accra Clinic.

As well as diplomat of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology (1949), and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (1958).

An advocate for women and children causes , and fighter of the Akan system of inheritance. She fought for legislation that gave spouses and children the right to inherit from their deceased fathers and spouses, who did not leave a will. Her advocacy led to the PNDC intestate succession law ( 1985). She was part of the 1969 constituent Assembly that drafted Ghana's second republic's constitution.

In 1974 the university of Ghana honoured her with an honorary doctor of science degree for her research into child malnutrition, she coined the term "kwashiorkor" .

She married E.V.C de Graft Johnson, a barrister. She was an executive member of the federation of Association of Catholic medical doctors, and a member of Ghana Catholic doctors association. In July 1985 ( aged 67/68) Susan died in the United Kingdom of natural causes. A girls house at Achimota school was named after her. She also had an award from the Red Cross.

Akosua Tuntum Nahana
Akosua Tuntum Nahana

News ContributorPage: TuntumNahanaAkosua

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