The Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch was birthed in 1985.
The Founder/Initiator, Dr. Bernadette Korubo, without prior knowledge of the existence of such a body in Nigeria, while relaxing with an Italian friend and professional colleague, Dr. Maria Corona Onyeonu, muted the idea of bringing all the female doctors in Port Harcourt together under an umbrella of friendship and fellowship.
Her friend informed her that such an association of female doctors existed in her country and the idea became a reality with a tea party held in Dr. Onyeonu’s clinic, to which most of the female doctors residing in Port Harcourt were invited.
Attendance was encouraging and consequently the body with the name, “Medical Women’s International Association” Rivers State Branch was formed.
The State Branch had at its meeting held an election in which the executive emerged with Dr. Tumini Blue-Jack Wilcox emerging as President.
The State Branch became aware of the National body when there was an advertisement for the 4th Biennial National Conference of the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, billed to take place in Benin in the then Bendel State.
Some members of the Executive were mandated to attend the 4th Biennial Conference, where they met with the then National President, Dr. Clara Akele. She was invited and subsequently visited Port Harcourt and inaugurated the State Branch on the 2nd of March, 1985 at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt. After this, the name was changed to “Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Rivers State Zone”.
The pioneer members included the following female doctors:
|Dr. Tumini Blue-Jack Wilcox – President|
|Dr. C.I. Abam – Vice President|
|Dr. M. Krukrubo – Secretary|
|Dr. C.N. Masi – Assistant Secretary|
|Dr. N. Akani – Financial Secretary|
|Dr. L. George – Treasurer|
|Dr. M. Banigo|
|Dr. T. Martins-Yellowe|
|Dr. M. Corona-Onyeonu|
|Dr. A.U. Nwigwe|
|Dr. O.P Adudu|
|Dr. I. Banigo|
|Dr. S. Egbejimba|
|Dr. B. Braide|
|Dr. T.I.N. Tasie|
|Dr. E. Diette-Koki|
|Dr. I. Sharma|
|Dr. N.P. Offor|
|Dr. S.O. Chijioke|
|Dr. A. Onwumechili|
|Dr. C. Ogbeifun|
|Dr. F. Ajie|
|Dr. U. J. Essiet|
|Lt. Col. Osusanya|
|Dr. E. Ukabiala|
|Dr. J. Omojola|
|Dr. C. Orubo|
|Dr. K.W. Hakim|
|Dr. I.A. Akuiyibo|
|Dr. B. Korubo|
|Dr. H. Ivanoska|
|Chief D. Graham-Douglas|
|Dr. A.A. Ibiama|
|Mrs. L.U. Ogali|
The pioneering work of this Executive led to its recognition by the State Government as it was the first female professional body to be formed in the State. It challenged other female professionals who soon followed suit to form theirs.
The Executive made concerted efforts to secure office space to serve both as Secretariat and Clinic, and the Rivers State Government allocated two rooms on the third floor of Produce House to the Association for this purpose.
The Branch is now 30 years in existence, and over the years, through its fourteen (14) different Executives, has carried out various activities on its own and in collaboration with other NGOs. These include:
- Charity walks to raise funds to enable the Association run free clinics at the Remand Home, Children’s Homes and Motherless Babies Home.
- Health campaigns on various health issues including female genital mutilation, drug abuse, sexually-transmitted disease and HIV/AIDS.
- In 1987, as agreed by MWAN National, embarked on cancer screening and enlightenment, which is still ongoing.
- In 1988, became an affiliate of the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) and participates in its activities.
- Organizes Secondary School quizzes and debates.
- Since 1997, has provided health services including: cancer screening, immunization and out-patient services at their Centre, Every Woman’s Centre, Marine Base, Port Harcourt.
The Rivers State Branch participates actively at National and International levels. The National Biennial Conferences of the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, that held in 1997 and 2007, were hosted by the Rivers State Branch. During the Biennial Conference in 1997 that held in Onitsha, a member of the Rivers State Branch, Dr. Claribel Abam, received the prestigious Irene Igodaro Award. At the 15th Biennial Conference which held in Port Harcourt in 2007, Dr. Claribel Abam emerged as the National President.
In 2009, at the 16th National Biennial Conference in Abuja, another member of the Rivers State Branch, Dr. Nnesochi Offor, received the prestigious Irene Igodaro Award.
In 2010, at the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) that held in Munster, Germany, Dr. Rosemary Ogu emerged as co-Chair of the International MWIA, while in 2013, at the 18th National Biennial Conference in Uyo, Vetty/Agala emerged as the National Coordinator of the Young Forum in Nigeria.
The Branch has been represented at the MWIA Conferences in Sao Paolo, Brazil 1988. Sydney, Australia 2001, Tokyo, Japan 2004; Accra, Ghana 2007; Munster, Germany, 2010; and Seoul, South Korea, 2013. They have also participated in MIWA near East and Africa Regional Conferences in Abuja, Nigeria 2000 (during which the Rivers State Branch was responsible for fund raising); Uganda, 2003; Zambia, 2006; Tanzania, 2009; Egypt 2012, and Ghana, 2015.
Cancer awareness, health promotion exercises and the media/school health talks continue to be the main thrust of MWAN activities.
In 2013, MWAN Rivers State Branch received a grant from Ford Foundation to set up Youth Friendly Centres in two hard-to-reach Health Centres in Andoni Local Government Area (Unyeada and Ataba), and in 2014, the Branch received a grant from the NRCP as the coordinating CSO for the observatory on Violence against Women and Girls in Rivers State.
|PAST PRESIDENTS AND SECRETARIES|
|1985-1987||Dr. Tumini Blue-Jack Wilcox – President
Dr. Maria Krukrubo – Secretary
|1998-1991||Dr. Claribel Abam – President
Dr. Stella Chijioke – Secretary
|1991-1993||Dr. Ebimie Okara – President
Dr. Nengi Alazikha – Secretary
|1993-1995||Dr. Nwadiuto Akani – President
Dr. Nengi Alazikha – Secretary
|1995-1997||Dr. Maria Krukrubo – President
Dr. Ibimoye Porbeni – Secretary
|2001-2003||Dr. Oribi Isokariari Higgwe – President
Dr. Ndidi Utchay – Secretary
|2003-2005||Dr. Justina Jumbo – President
Dr. Olukunmi Ijeruh – Secretary
|2005-2007||Dr. Nnesochi Offor – President
Dr. Onyebuekwe Ukegbu – Secretary
|2007-2009||Dr. Roseline Appah-Dulu – President
Dr. Oruene Finebone – Secretary
|2009-2011||Dr. Olukunmi Ijeruh – President
Dr. Vetty Agala – Secretary
|2011-2013||Dr. Gracia Eke – President
Dr. Henrietta Nwachukwu – Secretary
|2013-2015||Dr. Obelebra Adebiyi – President
Dr. Folusho Alamina – Secretary
|2015-2017||Dr. Rosemary Ogu- President
Dr. Vetty Agala – Secretary
|2017-2019||Dr. Ibimonye Porbeni- President
Dr. Ufuoma Edewor – Secretary
|2019-date||Dr. Vetty Agala- President
Dr. Ireju Ajie – Secretary