A United Kingdom born Nigerian nurse, Dame Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu, has been honoured by Queen Elizabeth II as the Commander of Order of British Empire for her exemplary contributions to the UK health sector.
Anionwu contributed to opening the first sickle cell and thalassemia counselling centre in the UK. She also helped create the Mary Seacole Centre for Nursing Practice at the University of West London. She retired from her careers in 2007.
Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu has a PhD, a DBE, and a FRCN. Anionwu began her nursing career at a very young age after being inspired by a nun who cared for her eczema. At the age of 16, she started to work as a school nurse assistant in Wolverhampton.
Later on, she continued with her education to become a nurse, health visitor, and tutor. She is ultimately thankful that her father pushed her to pursue and progress more in her career. She also travelled to the US to study counselling for sickle cell and thalassemia centres and courses were not available in the UK.
In 1979 she worked with Dr Brozovic to create the first UK Sickle Cell and Thalassemia counselling centre in Brent.
The opening of this counselling centre pioneered the opening of over 30 centers in the UK using the Brent location as a basis.
Anionwu is a member and patron of multiple committees:
Sickle Cell Society
Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association UK
Vice President of Unite/Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association
Editorial Advisory Board of Nursing Standard
NHS Sickle Cell & ThalassemiaScreening Program Steering Group
Honorary Advisor to the Chief Nursing Officer’s Black & Minority Ethnic Advisory Group
Life patron of The Mary Seacole Trust
Retiring in 2007, Anionwu, she remained active in the nursing community and overlooks many projects.
The development of caring for people with sickle cell disease and thalassemiasyndromes: A framework for nursing staff.
Understanding the contribution of sickle cell and thalassemia specialist nurses.