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Dr Esther Davis - TLM Hero

An older white woman with glasses smiles at the camera

Dr Esther Davis (1919-2011) graduated from Queen’s University Belfast as a doctor before joining Qua Iboe Mission (QIM, now Mission Africa), as a missionary doctor. She sailed to Nigeria soon after, and gave 50 years of her life in service to people affected by leprosy.

It was at Qua Iboe Church Leprosy Referral Hospital in Ekpene Obom, where Esther first understood the devastating effects of leprosy, marking the beginning of a lifelong bond with the hospital’s staff and the community they served. She would return there to work and visit many, many times.

Thanks to study fellowships awarded by the World Health Organisation, Esther spent time in India and Ethiopia, acquiring new skills in leprosy care and advanced leprosy surgery. Later she became Chief Medical Officer, and taught staff at multiple Nigerian hospitals.

For the final 11 years of her career, Esther returned to the Ekpene Obom hospital. She successfully encouraged The Leprosy Mission and QIM to work closely together to improve care for leprosy patients. In her retirement she formed a support and fundraising group for the hospital and remained an inspiration to many.

Esther was awarded an OBE for her services in the treatment of leprosy, which she felt she had won on behalf of everyone at the hospital, which honoured her too, with a new ward in her name.