By: Rogia al-Shafee
KHARTOUM (Sudanow) – Hawwa Ali Albasir had scored unprecedented achievement in nursing, midwifery and health visiting in Sudan in the 1940s and after.
In the process, Hawwa had rendered great services with respect to women enlightenment and education, illuminating the path for women who came after her.
Hawwa was born in 1910 in the town of Alshawwal in the White Nile District. Shortly after she was born, her family moved to Khartoum North where she grew up and received her first education, among the very rare females to have such a learning opportunity at that time.
She completed her primary education in Khartoum North, then she finished her intermediate and secondary education at the American Angelical Missionary School in Khartoum North also.
Upon finishing her secondary school education, she opted to communicate knowledge to her fellow countrywomen for free. She started a literacy school in the house of her married sister in Omdurman where she educated girls on reading and writing, sewing and housekeeping.
When news spread in the city about what she was doing, the British inspector at the ministry of Education suggested she should join the midwives school, graduating from this school in 1941. Then in 1944 she received the health visitors certificate and was appointed health visitor in Khartoum. Later on she was transferred to Aloboeid in the mid-west of Sudan where she launched the Midwives School , trained many midwives and strived to propagate healthcare and reproductive health in that area.
In 1950 she received a short course in England and then in 1954 she went on a two-year scholarship to England where she obtained a health visitor certificate and a nursing certificate.
During her stay in London, Hawwa presented delivered health messages on the BBC Arabic services and the BBC World Service, thanks to her good command of English and her knowledge on the subject.
In 1956 she became the first Sudanese to assume the office of principal of the Higher Nursing College.
During her service in the Ministry of Health, Hawwa toured all the regions of the Sudan and took part in many local and international conferences on nursing and midwifery. She had presented a lot of research papers on nursing and midwifery in Sudan.
Hawwa was an active member of the international midwives and health visitors societies.
In recognition of her services, she received the British Empire Medal.
In 1967 the University of Khartoum awarded her an honourary doctorate degree among some others who had made profound contributions to education in the Sudan.
Hawwa had died in 1973, survived by one son.
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