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Meet Penelope Adinku, Ghana’s first female cardiothoracic surgeon

Penelope Adinku, the first female Ghanaian cardiothoracic surgeon

Penelope Adinku is the first female Ghanaian cardiothoracic surgeon

The first female Ghanaian cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Penelope Baaba Tettey Adinku, has said that she decided to go into the field because of the investment Dr Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng made in that sector and because of her love for children.

Dr Frimpong-Boateng, a Ghanaian physician and cardiothoracic surgeon, established the National Cardiothoracic Centre at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in the early 1990s to help patients with heart conditions.

Speaking on 123 FM – a sister station of Asaase Radio – in Tamale, Dr Adinku said her quest to find out more about the centre led her to pursue a career in that field.

“It is a male-dominated field and males are generally accepted to be the surgeons. For us as females, I think we have had to work harder to prove ourselves. The bias is there, and we have to work harder to make ourselves more visible,” Dr Adinku told her host, Yaw Adjei Danquah.

Breaking the bias

Her accomplishment paves the way for women on a quest to become cardiothoracic surgeons in Ghana.

“Sometimes when I’m walking with my husband, who is not a doctor, but I have a stethoscope around my neck, he’s referred to as the doctor and I’m just ignored. So the bias is out there.

“I’m hoping [that] with this barrier out of the way, more females will enter this space, and it will actually be a norm,” Dr Adinku said.

Listen to the full interview in the audio clip attached below:


Dr Adinku will also be featuring on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Tuesday 10 May to share more about her life story.


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