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Meet some of Africa’s youngest medical doctors

by  Africa Media Australia

Dr. Thakgalo Thibela, South Africa

In the realm of exceptional achievements, Dr. Thakgalo Thibela stands out as a trailblazer, having become the youngest female Medical Doctor in South Africa at the age of 21. Her journey is a testament to both her intellect and determination, demonstrating that age is no barrier to making significant contributions to the medical field.

Dr Thibela came from Violet Bank, a village in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga province. Her academic prowess was evident from an early age. She attended Farel Primary School, showcasing such brilliance that she skipped Grade 7 and proceeded directly to Lehlasedi High School, bypassing Grade 9 as well. Promoted from Grade 6 to 8 and from Grade 8 to 10, she completed her matric with an outstanding seven distinctions by the age of 15.


At 16, Dr. Thibela earned a bursary from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), marking the beginning of her journey at the University of Witwatersrand. In December 2020, she accomplished the remarkable feat of obtaining a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) at the tender age of 21, solidifying her status as a prodigy in the medical community.

Following her academic success, Dr. Thibela embarked on her Internship at Helen Joseph Hospital and her Community Service at Mapulaneng Hospital. Her aspirations extend beyond her current achievements, as she aims to become a Neurosurgeon in the near future.

The inspiring journey of this 24-year-old medical prodigy serves as a beacon of motivation for  many young Africans worldwide. Her unwavering dedication and fervent passion for creating a positive impact in the medical field are truly remarkable. There is no doubt that she will have a great career and is likely to leave an enduring legacy that resonates both professionally and socially.


Dr Kwaku Boakye Gyamfi, Ghana

Dr Kwaku Boakye Gyamfi is one of Ghana’s youngest medical doctors. At just 22 years of gage he graduated from the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Cape Coast in September 2023 and his remarkable journey reflects an early passion and commitment to the field of medicine.

Starting his academic journey at Danem Royal Montessori School in Accra at the age of 5, Gyamfi accelerated through his primary and secondary education, earning admission to medical school at an impressive age of 16.  Gyamfi’s achievement follows in the footsteps of other young medical trailblazers in Ghana, including Erica Maame Abena Pomaa Ntiamoah Mensah, who graduated at 21 in 2021, and Vanessa Aseye Mensah-Kabu, who became a doctor at 22.


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Beyond individual accomplishments, Ghana’s medical community has witnessed notable contributions from rising talents. In 2020, medical students Olubukola Abiona, Geoffery Hutchinson, and Cynthia Ziwawo played pivotal roles in the research that led to the development of the first COVID-19 vaccine, working under the guidance of Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a senior research fellow for the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Barney Graham, deputy director of the NIH Vaccine Research Center at the time, praised the team’s work, emphasizing its underappreciated and heroic nature. Their efforts not only expedited the clinical trials of the Moderna vaccine but also informed the development of other coronavirus vaccines and treatments.


Dr Elizabeth Akintelu Abiola, Nigeria

In an amazing achievement, Elizabeth Akintelu Abiola made history in 2022 as the youngest doctor ever in Nigeria, and she did it at just 21 years old. Abiola’s journey to becoming a doctor shows how strong and determined she is and how she can overcome tough challenges.

Born on June 12, 1995, Abiola started her school journey at Today’s Child Nursery and Primary School in Nigeria, where she set the stage for her future success. Later, she went to Federal Government Girls’ College in Akure. Then, she took on an incredible adventure by choosing Sudan, Khartoum, for her medical studies.

After getting her Medicine degree in April 2016, Abiola faced a bunch of challenges, especially dealing with a new language in a foreign country. But even with those tough times, she stayed committed and worked really hard.

A big moment in Abiola’s career happened on November 8, 2016, when she achieved the amazing accomplishment of joining the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. This wasn’t just about how smart she is; it also showed how she could beat challenges that seemed really hard.

Elizabeth Akintelu Abiola’s story is all about being inspired and determined, proving that young people can overcome big challenges and achieve great things. As the youngest doctor in Nigeria, her journey is like a guiding light for other young folks who dream of being doctors. It shows that with a lot of hard work and determination, even the toughest challenges can be tackled. Abiola’s entrance into the medical council isn’t just a win for her; it’s also a big contribution to healthcare in Nigeria.


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