Dr Abimbola Silva, renowned for being the first Nigerian woman to graduate in medicine with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B Ch.B) believed in the simple theory of ‘Prevention is better than cure’ her biographer, Dr Bunmi Oyinsan, said in excerpts from her biography.
Oyinsan maintained that Silva who died peacefully at her residence in Ikoyi on July 19 was committed to the “idea of a preventive approach to medicine rather than a curative one”.
She noted that this principle informed her primary campaigns when she was at the Ministry. “She was also committed to volunteering and served in an executive capacity in various organizations,” Oyinsan submitted.
Dr Mrs Marian Abimbola Silva, nee Phillips, was born in Lagos on the 17th of May 1926 to the family of Reverend Samuel Charles Phillips and Mrs Evangeline Elizabeth
Ayodele Phillips (nee Pearse). Reverend Samuel Charles Phillips rose through the ranks of the CMS Church, becoming a Canon in 1929 and finally Bishop in 1944. Her paternal grandfather, Bishop Charles Phillips (after whom her father was named) served in Ondo and is credited as a major participant in the propagation of Christianity in the area. Her mother. Mrs Evangeline Elizabeth Ayodele Phillips’ pedigree is as equally impressive as her husband’s. She hailed from the palatial Elephant House in Olowogbowo area of Lagos. Mrs Philips’ father was the Honourable S. H. Pearse. A very successful business man who was quite a personality in Lagos. Dr Silva’s siblings are the late Mrs Olubusola Modupe Olumide, late Mr Samuel Charles Oladipupo Oladapo Phillips and Mrs Grace Fehintola Christian.
Dr Silva started her education at the Caxton House School, Lagos in 1929. The school was a kindergarten started by Mrs Abimbola Gibson (Nee Blaise). From Caxton House, she went on to the CMS Girls’ School on Broad Street in 1931 when she was almost five years old. She finished her secondary education in Grade 1 with a distinction in Mathematics in 1943. She left for England in 1944 towards the end of the Second World War and was admitted to study Medicine at the University of Liverpool. She graduated in December 1951 and became the first Nigerian woman to graduate in medicine with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B Ch.B) and the third to qualify as a doctor. Two other women had qualified as doctors before her; they were Dr Mrs. Abimbola Awoliyi (who had inspired her) and Dr. Mrs. Amy Nwapa (nee Johnson) both of whom were licentiates.
Marriage and Family Life
She married Barrister Afolabi Silva (later Chief Silva) at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos on the 27th of January, 1955. The marriage was blessed with five children and many grandchildren. Olabiyi Silva, who is an estate agent, Ajoke Jacobs who is an actress, (she is more popularly known by her stage name Joke Silva), Olabisi Silva who runs her own business; Olajumoke Dawodu, who is an educationist and Ojuolape Silva, who is a barrister and solicitor.
Her Guiding Principles
Dr Silva continued to live up to the values that were instilled by her parents who were highly principled and religious. Professionally, she was committed to the idea of a preventive approach to medicine rather than a curative one. This principle informed her primary campaigns when she was at the Ministry. She was also committed to volunteering and served in an executive capacity in various organizations.
See list of Voluntary Organisations.
She died peacefully at her residence in Ikoyi on the 19th of July 2015.
Source: PM NEWS