Professor Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu, DBE FRCN is a British-born Nigerian nurse, health visitor, advisor and tutor, who was recently honoured with a Damehood by the Queen of England for her services to nursing professional in the United Kingdom and the Mary Seacole Statue Appeal.
Having said all of these, we think there are some other important fact about the professor you should and thus, we present to you, the 11 things about this phenomenal woman.
1. Professor Elizabeth Anionwu was born Elizabeth Mary Furlong in Birmingham, United Kingdom on July 2nd 1947.
2. She is of Irish and Nigerian descent heritage. Her father, Lawrence Odiatu Victor Anionwu, a barrister from Onitsha got her mother, Mary Furlong pregnant when she was just 20 while they were in school in UK.
3.Her early life was marked by racism and the stigma of illegitimacy. For much of her childhood she was cared for by nuns, including several years in the Nazareth House convent in Birmingham.
4. She began her nursing career at a very young age after being inspired by a nun who cared for her eczema. At the age of 16, she started to work as a school nurse assistant in Wolverhampton.
5. She finally met her father in June 1972, just a couple of weeks before her 25th birthday.
6. In 1979, she helped to establish the first UK Sickle & Thalassaemia Screening and Counselling Centre and awarded a CBE for services to nursing in 2001.She also helped create the Mary Seacole Centre for Nursing Practice at the University of West London.
7. In 2004 she was presented with the Royal College of Nursing Fellowship (FRCN) for her work in the development of nurse-led sickle cell and thalassaemia counselling services and education and leadership in transcultural nursing.
8. Elizabeth Anionwu is an Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London, Vice-Chairperson of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal and a Patron of the Sickle Cell Society as well as the Sickle and Thalassaemia Association of Nurses, Midwives & Associated Professionals (STANMAP).
9. She is the author of A short history of Mary Seacole published in 2005 by the Royal College of Nursing & a co-author of Mary Seacole: global nurse extraordinaire, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2014.
10. Anionwu has one daughter, Azuka Oforka, who is an actress in the BBC TV series ‘Casualty’.
11. She met the Queen of England on the 23rd of February, 2017 and was honoured with one of the highest national honours, Dame Commander of the Order of the British Emprire.