Abimbola Ayodeji Abolarinwa has been named first female urologist in Nigeria. According to Wikipedia, Urology is the branch of medicine that focuses on surgical and medical diseases of the urinary-tract system and the reproductive organs. Organs under the domain of urology include the kidneys, adrenal glands, ureters, urinary bladder, urethra, and the male reproductive organs (testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate, and penis). Being the first female, one statement of fact is that, this field has been dominated by men and one quick question could be, why did Abimbola choose that particular field?
Giving a bit of her background, Abimbola’s Father is a Surgeon. She had her primary education at Air Force Primary School, Kaduna. Went to Air Force Girls Military School, Jos for her secondary education and had her tertiary studies at the University of Ibadan (UI). She wished to study medicine but fate almost changed the course of her career life as she was given admission to study physiology, at first. As God would have it, she was able to switch to medicine in her second year. And that was how she started her career in medicine in 2004. After graduation and having undergone her compulsory one-year service to Nigeria in Kaduna, she returned to Lagos and worked with the Baptist Medical Centre, Obanikoro, a branch of Baptist Medical Centre, Ogbomosho.
In an interview with Vanguard Newspaper, Abimbola iterated how she got to this point. She said she had always wanted to be a surgeon, just like her father and wrote her primary in surgery. In January 2009, she was employed by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) for residency training in surgery.
Speaking about her motivation to study medicine, Abimbola said she caught the drive from her father. She lived all her younger years seeing her father in the theatre. She grew to have fallen in love with biological sciences much later and the solution surgery proffers for people and pursued it. Then, while in medical school, she found surgery the most interesting of all rotations. According to her, it was very practical; the solutions were very clear. She felt it was not impossible and went for it.
Answering why she chose to specialise in urology regardless, of being a male-dominated field, Abimbola said, “All the while, I never thought it as being male-dominated; it never occurred to me that there was no female before me in training. I just wanted it because I loved it. I found a new interest in it as against my former interest in orthopaedics. I just found myself in it and that was when I realised that I actually got trapped in what was a male-dominated speciality.”
Talking about how she is/was able to juggle work and family life, Abimbola, thankful for a supportive and understanding family said, “My family juggled family for me so I could focus on my work. Even at work, I had a lot of people that made sure things went smoothly for me so that I didn’t have a case where I was carrying frustration from work back home. I was able to keep work at work and home at home.” Frankly, she said it wasn’t that easy and generally that’s how surgery aspect of the medical sciences is but with help here and there, she pulled through.
Her journey could perfectly describe tenacity, doggedness, focus, determination, strong will and persistence. It wasn’t enough that she delved into surgery but narrowed it down to urology that’s considered complex, time-consuming and for males altogether inspiring. Again, Abimbola has told everyone that, it is important to count the cost, put the necessary structure in place and afterwards, build the house because the impossible is nothing!