Women have continually been at the forefront of medical advances in Bahrain with medical training institutions encouraging female students across all specializations. As a result, around 60% of doctors and dentists in Bahrain today are female, as are 88% of nurses employed by the Ministry of Health.
This female penetration of all segments of the Bahraini health service goes back many decades. Not surprisingly, from early in the twentieth century, women had a dominant presence in the caring professions, such as nursing. However, as the century went on, more and more female doctors graduated and rose to the top of their respective fields. For example; Dr. Fawzia Kamal became the first female radiologist in 1978.
Meanwhile, Nada Hafadh had a successful career as a doctor and a Health Ministry official, before becoming Bahrain’s first female minister, as Minister of Health in 2004.
Another notable senior figure is Mariam al-Jalahma who served as Assistant Undersecretary for Primary Care and Public Health in the Ministry of Health and has also held senior roles in the World Health Organization. In late 2015, Al-Jalahma was appointed by the King as Chief Executive of the National Health Regulatory Authority.
These senior female figures have been important in demonstrating that the most outstanding female medics are capable of reaching the highest levels in their areas of practice. This is already providing inspiration to thousands of female medical students who represent the future of Bahraini achievements in the field of health.
The number of women who have ranked first in the various fields of Bahraini medicine are too numerous to mention in detail. However, here are just a few of the key figures who were pioneers in their respective specializations:
First midwife – Jameea Tawfeeq
Bahrain’s First Female Nurse – Fatima Ali Al-Zayani
First female pharmacist – Layla Ahmed Abdulrahman
Bahrain’s First Female Primary Care Physician – Dr. Naeema Hassan Al-Qaseer
Bahrain’s First Female Recipient of a B.A. in Medicine – Dr. Sadeeqa Ali Al-Awadi
The First Female Head of Salmaniya Medical Center – Dr. Maha Al-Khalidi Al-Hamer
Bahrain’s First Female Dentist – Dr. Layla Ahmed Abdulrahman
First female Health Minister – Dr. Nada Abbas Hafadh
First female College of Health Sciences dean – Batool Ali Al Muhandis,
First female Health Ministry assistant undersecretary – Dr. Mariam Al Jalahma
First family doctor in primary health care – Dr. Amal Hassan Al Maskati
First female health promotion director – Dr. Amal Abdulrahman Al Jowder
Principal of Bahrain’s first nursing school – Omaiya Qorbi Al Tajer
First female internal medicine specialist – Dr. Salwa Mohammed Al Mahroos
First paediatric consultant – Dr. Fadheela Taher Al Mahroos
First female Bahraini Radiologist – Dr. Fawzia Kamal
First female paediatric specialist – Dr. Mariam Ebrahim Fakhro