Global Health Giants to remember this Black History Month

Afro Health Initiative
4 min readOct 4, 2020

Written by Sellma Mahi, Chief Marketing Officer for AHI

It is Black History Month in the UK and AHI decided to look closely at some of the many inspiring Black figures in Global Health. These people, from our past and many living among us, are working hard every day to create the change the world desperately needs.

Did you know the most senior practising midwife in the UK is Jamaican? That she assisted the Duchess of Cambridge, twice?

Have you heard that the first open-heart surgery in West Africa was performed by a Ghanaian doctor? This happened only a few years after the Gold Coast became modern-day Ghana?

Did you know of, Dr Felix I.D. Konotey-Ahulu? He was the doctor that traced back sickle cell anaemia to a hereditary gene in 1670? Generation by generation?

This month, we want to recognise and amplify the stories of these black trailblazers past and present within the field.

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent from an NMC article Oct 2019

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, of Jamaican origin, can be described as the most influential and inspiring midwife in the UK.

In a recent interview with Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS), Professor Dunkley-Bent declared that she always knew this was her natural career path to follow. In her long career as a nurse and then as a midwife, she has amassed a wide range of accolades. Professor Dunkley-Bent ‘s most recent accolade is being added to the list of “100 most influential people in the UK of African/African-Caribbean descent” (1).

After completing her postgraduate teaching certificate at Surrey University, she worked as a lecturer at Middlesex University and is still a visiting lecturer at King’s College London and London South Bank University (2). Professor Dunkley-Bent has held many senior positions, one such position being the Director of Midwifery and Nursing for Women’s and Children’s services at Imperial College Healthcare Trust.

In 2019, she was appointed the first Chief Midwifery Officer in the NHS, making her the most senior midwife in England and the first person ever in the role. Due to her experience and…

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Afro Health Initiative

Afrocentric brain gain​ platform engaging Africa’s diaspora for healthcare development