Women in STEM: Meet Mrs. Dado Jabbie-Jarju, one of the First Home Trained Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

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Mrs. Dado Jabbie Jarju, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

By: Awa Conteh 

In this week’s episode of our Women in STEM column, we are honored to share the incredible journey of a woman who has dedicated her life to supporting the well-being of others. Mrs. Dado Jabbie Jarju, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, personifies tenacity and the quest for excellence in science and medicine.

Her story concerns determination, resilience, and an unyielding commitment to improving women’s lives. Mrs. Jarju has shown that no barriers are too high, no hurdles are too severe, and no gender prejudices are too restrictive to keep her from reaching the peak of her field. As we delve into Mrs. Dado Jabbie Jarju’s life and work, you will see the enormous impact she has had in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Join us on a trip that honors her achievements, highlights her dedication, and provides a glimpse into the future she envisions for women in STEM. Prepare to be enthralled and inspired by a remarkable woman who has had an unforgettable impact on women’s health.

Mrs Dado Jabbie’s story has unfolded through unwavering dedication and boundless passion. Dado is a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology at Bundung Maternal and Child Hospital, where she holds the esteemed position of deputy head of doctors and clinical services, along with the pivotal role of being the focal person for the private maternity block. Her professional life demonstrates her commitment to women’s health, but beyond her career, she is a devoted wife and mother.

Mrs Jabbie’s journey commenced in the classrooms of Banjulinding Primary School, where she received her primary education. From there, she continued her educational voyage, attending St. Peters Junior School and Nusrat Senior Secondary School. After completing high school, the university presented a crucial decision, offering only a limited selection of fields for science students. The young scholar found herself at a crossroads, torn between two compelling choices: computer science and medicine. Ultimately, the allure of medicine prevailed, setting the course for an extraordinary seven-year academic adventure through the University of The Gambia School of Medicine, sowing the seeds of her illustrious medical career.

In 2017, Mrs. Jabbie faced and conquered a significant milestone, passing her primary exams with the West African College of Surgeons. Concurrently, she undertook part one of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and, in 2018, became a part of history as one of the first batch of home-trained residents with the West African College of Surgeons. She did all these while navigating the complex path of balancing motherhood and medical studies, even having to study alongside her new baby for the crucial first exams to become a specialist. Ultimately, her dedication knew no bounds, and it led her as far as Ghana to take the exams, a challenging journey made even more demanding by her responsibilities as a parent. 

After years of relentless determination and dedication to her craft, she finally achieved her dream of becoming a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology in April 2022. Despite the hurdles, she prevailed and passed their exams. Today, she looks back with pride on her commitment to the field, to her family, and to the resilience that ultimately brought her success.

“In 2017, The Gambia started residency training for doctors in obstetrics and gynecology, and at that same time, I got a scholarship to Kenya for my Master’s. It was a decision that was going to change my career and my personal life. I eventually gave up my dream of going to Kenya. I did my residency here with the West African College of Surgeons. We were the first batch, and it was 6 of us. The road was rough, but today, I am glad I chose to stay home to do the residency,” she told TAT. 

Throughout Mrs Jabbie’s medical education, the dream of becoming a surgeon or a neurosurgeon dominated their aspirations. However, everything changed during a pivotal rotation in obstetrics and gynecology during her horsemanship at EFSTH, a crucial phase in which she gained invaluable experience in the field of medicine. A stark realization struck her- there was not a single female gynecologist in The Gambia. The absence of a female presence in women’s health and privacy felt quite unusual, and it was a gap that begged to be filled. Her path became apparent during her horsemanship in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She made a resolute decision then that she would return to this Department to make a difference for her fellow women. She recognized the profound importance of women talking to someone who truly understands their experiences and concerns regarding their bodies. 

Later, she was redeployed to the then JFFP Hospital as a medical officer, which has since transformed into Bundung Maternal and Child Hospital. It was within these hospital walls that Dado’s true calling in obstetrics and gynecology began to flourish. She took the initiative to establish a gynecology clinic, working closely with the nurse and laying the foundation for what would eventually become a center of excellence in the country. Today, this clinic is a testament to the power of determination and the impact a single individual can have in bridging the gap in women’s healthcare. 

The experience was transformative; an overwhelming sense of joy accompanied each new life she helped usher into the world. The reward was immeasurable, even in the face of the demanding nature of her work, both physically and emotionally. What fuelled Dr. Dado’s daily commitment was the simple yet profound satisfaction of seeing the smiles on the faces of their patients. These encounters, along with the moments when former patients would recount the care and compassion provided months or even years earlier, served as a reminder of the profound impact she had on people’s lives. She found herself celebrating the small victories and sharing the burden of sorrow during the inevitable losses. It’s a journey filled with emotions, but one that has become her life’s purpose.

Mentorship has been a cornerstone of Mrs. Jabbie’s career, and she recognizes its importance in nurturing the next generation of women in STEM. Throughout her journey, he has been fortunate to have senior colleagues who have generously guided and supported her in her career development. Today, she pays it forward by contributing to the growth and inspiration of the upcoming generation.

Within our WISTEM initiative, which she is part of, there’s a meaningful mentorship program in place. The association provides a platform for students from chapters in different schools to connect with professionals—Mrs. Jabbie mentors several aspiring young women who dream of becoming gynecologists.

“I am a member of WiSTEM, and we are creating chapters in various schools to enlighten the girls that STEM fields are doable and provide mentorship programs for them. Also, we plan on reaching the parents to allow their girls into stem fields,” she said. 

 

Mrs Dado Jabbie’s determination to excel in the field of gynecology has been an inspiration to all. As we conclude this episode, we are left with a profound awe at her unwavering commitment to empowering women’s health and breaking the boundaries that once stood in her way. Her journey reminds us that pursuing excellence, fueled by passion, can lead to remarkable achievements. Her story is a beacon of hope, lighting the way for others who dream of making a lasting impact in STEM. It speaks to the blazing potential that exists within each of us, and it inspires us to push the boundaries of what is possible in women’s health, STEM, and beyond.

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Sainey M.K. Marenah
Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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