The story of Prof Lydia Aziato: a leading nurse scholar in Ghana

When she assumed office as the third Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) on August 11, 2022, Professor Lydia Aziato made history as the first woman to occupy that position in the 10-year history of the university.

Among the guests at the investiture was the President, Nana Akufo-Addo. Popularly known as ‘Professor 1’ in nursing and midwifery circles, Professor Aziato, the daughter of peasant farmers, is the first nurse to achieve the rank of a professor in Ghana and West Africa.

She is also the second nurse Vice Chancellor in Africa. A native of Wudoaba in the Volta Region, and a product of Ghana Senior High School in Koforidua, the beneficiary of the Ghana COCOBOD Farmers’ Scholarship Trust completed the Advanced Level in that school in 1992.

In 1997, the studious young woman who grew up in the Eastern Region, completed studies at the Nursing and Midwifery College in Korle Bu in Accra to become a professional nurse.

She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Nursing and Psychology in 2001, and a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in nursing in 2005, both from the University of Ghana.

During her M.Phil programme, she was awarded a scholarship from Unilever Ghana Limited. In 2006, she completed her specialty training in Oncology Nursing from Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Canada.

After that, the scholar graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Nursing from the University of Western Cape (UWC), South Africa, in 2013.

Professor Aziato worked as a bedside nurse at the Mamprobi Polyclinic, Accra, before leaving for the University of Ghana, Legon in 2001 after her first degree.

At the University of Ghana, she rose through the ranks from Senior Nurse Technician to Assistant Lecturer and then Lecturer, before Associate Professor, and Professor in 2020.

Leadership roles
With 21-years of experience in academia, Professor Aziato was at different times Head of Department for Adult Health at the University of Ghana School of Nursing and Midwifery; acting Dean and later Dean of the school.

Professor Aziato was influential in rebranding the School of Nursing and Midwifery to become visible and research-focused.

She was the first substantive Dean of the school. During her five-year tenure as Dean, the school witnessed significant growth: the first M.Phil and M.SC Midwifery programmes in the school and Ph.D in Nursing were introduced.

She spearheaded the introduction of sandwich programmes at the school which also saw phenomenal growth in faculty and publications.

She founded the Research Mentorship Alliance, a non-governmental organisation that gave her the platform to develop the research skills of young scientists in Ghana. She is the President of Chi Omicron Chapter of Sigma Theta International (STTI), the second largest nursing organisation in the world.

The accomplished professor has experience in mentoring multi-disciplinary doctoral students under the Pan-African Doctoral Academy (PADA).

READ ALSO: Ghana’s president Akufo-Addo receives 4th honorary Doctorate degree from Sorbonne University, France

She has taught at different levels from certificate to doctoral, in institutions and units such as: Centre for Social Policy Studies, the 37 Nursing and Midwifery College, Accra; Pantang Nursing Training College, Central University, and the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives (GCNM).

An experienced curriculum developer, Professor Aziato worked with the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission and Nursing and Midwifery Council since 2015 in supervising various programmes for accreditation in various universities and schools.

She has received several awards and recognitions for her professional and academic excellence. Professor Aziato has published more than 70 articles in credible, international peer-reviewed journals, three books and four book chapters.

Her research interests include pain, breast cancer, and women’s health.

Citations of her research exceed 1,000, making her the leading nurse scholar in Ghana. Professor Aziato has supervised more than 100 undergraduates, graduates and doctoral students over the years.

The UHAS Vice Chancellor who fellowships at Temple of Grace Church in Madina, Accra is married to the Registrar of the Bolgatanga Technical University, Zangu-Rana Ibrahim D. Yakubu, and they are blessed with three children.

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