Re: honouring Kofoworola Abeni Pratt in Black History Month

Black History Month
for March 2019
Patrick Vernon, OBE, editor
and Ian Thomas, Got a story?

We wish to propose that Black History Month celebrate the important contribution of a much neglected nursing leader, Kofoworola Abeni Pratt (c1910-93), a Nigerian who trained at the Nightingale School in London, after working first as a teacher in Nigeria. She nursed at St Thomas’ 1946-50, or the time of the opening of the National Health Service. Hence she was either the first black nurse in the NHS, or in the first cohort.

She experienced racial discrimination in the course, but it was dealt with.

Back in Nigeria, Pratt became the first Nigerian matron of University Hospital, Ibadan, and then the first Nigerian to be appointed chief nursing officer for her country;

There is a biography on her by a Nigerian nurse, Justus A. Akinsanya, An African ‘Florence Nightingale’: A Biography of Chief (Dr) Mrs Kofoworola Abeni Pratt (Ibadan: Vantage 1987).

Yours sincerely
[19 members of the Nightingale Society]