Nana Konadu Boakye Yiadom, known in private life as Henrietta Akosua Aboagye, was indeed a very versatile woman. Among other things, she was a revered queenmother, a consummate nursing practitioner and a highly respected administrator.
Not surprisingly, she recorded a number of firsts in her lifetime. To begin with, she was the first of eight children and was a foundation Fellow midwife. She was also the first Registrar and Chairperson of the 3rd Governing Board of the Council of the Nurses and Midwives Council, having been appointed to the position in March, 1975.
Significantly too, she was the longest-serving President of the Ghana Registered Midwives Association (GRMA).
Henrietta was cast in the mould of Florence Nightingale, and was one of only a handful of indigenous nursing students admitted to the nursing profession in the Gold Coast Colony, from 1945 to 1948.
Together with three other students, they formed the nucleus of the Nursing Training College at Korle Bu, where she was indexed as a student nurse with Registration Number 107, on July 1, 1948. She subsequently obtained professional certification as a State Registered Nurse.
Henrietta worked diligently as a nursing practitioner and rose to become the Matron of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. She also became a member of the Nurses Board as a representative of the hospital.
The late Nana Konadu Boakye Yiadom was born on January 17, 1926, at Abiriw Akuapim, a town in the Eastern Region of Ghana, where she grew up with her siblings and parents, Rev. Bennet Okyere Aboagye and Mrs Agnes Mantebea Aboagye of blessed memory. They were descendants of the Alabiri royal family of Abiriw.
Henrietta was enstooled as the Adontenhene of Abiriw in 1982 under the stool name Nana Konadu Boakye Yiadom I, and later promoted to the position of Abakomahene, a title which she held until her death on January 11, 2017.
This illustrious daughter of the motherland was the matriarch of the Aboagye family, and was called to eternal glory at the ripe old age of 91.
Henrietta began her early education at the age of five in 1932 at the kindergarten (KG) Department of Achimota College. She continued to the primary and secondary level and subsequently sat for the Cambridge School Certificate, passing with flying colours in 1944.
“Henrietta was petite, a fact that attracted the attention of one of her European tutors who often referred to her as, Henrietta, a ‘small lady’ with a big name. What she lacked in size, she more than made up for in intellectual prowess”.
According to her schoolmate, Frances Ademola nee Quashie-Idun: “Akosua had been at Achimota for nearly seven years before most of us entered the school in 1939. Akosua was a true product of Achimota, having had all her formal education from kindergarten to the newly created Sixth Form in 1946 at Achimota. She was an Akora of Akoras!”
While studying in the United Kingdom, she met and fell in love with a handsome young man called Asare Thompson, whose father hailed from Adukrom in Akuapem. They subsequently got wedded in Accra in 1953, and were blessed with two children, Marian and Kofi.
Unfortunately, the marriage ended in 1957. Five years later though, she met and married Mr Victor Owusu, a prominent barrister and later Foreign Minister in Busia's government. He later became leader of the Popular Front Party.
Relationship with the church
Nana was baptised into the Presbyterian Church of Ghana when she was a young child. She grew to become a responsible member of the church and helped members of the Calvary Congregation in diverse ways.
Despite her advancing years, Nana still remembered her creator and to commemorate her 90th birthday, Nana donated a new “Communion Table” to the Calvary Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Abiriw Akuapem.
Nursing Practitioner and Administrator
According to the GRMA, she was their dearest mentor, a noble colleague, foundation Fellow midwife and the longest-serving President of the Association.
Henrietta Akosua Aboagye: State Registered Nurse and a Registered Midwife was elected as the fifth President of the Ghana Registered Midwives Association in 1980.
Prior to her election, she had been a member of the association for more than three decades. During her assumption of duty she promised to do her best to ensure a permanent office of the association, since meetings were being held in a single room apartment at Asylum down (known as Mango tree).
Through Nana’s able leadership the association acquired a plot of land at one of the prestigious locations in Cantonments, Accra. This was no easy task as on some occasions she was chased at gunpoint from the site. She did not give up; she presented a petition to the then President, Jerry John Rawlings, following which the land was given to the association.
The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association said: “Our departed sister, friend and colleague was a nurse par excellence, and was very passionate with her profession until her retirement from active service.
The Retiree Nurses and Midwives Club (RENAMIC), Greater Accra Branch, said Nana was one of the elderly, senior members of the club at the time, who dedicated their time and resources to lay the firm foundation on which the club stands today.
Aunty Akosua, as she was known by most members, served as the third President of the club for two terms, from 1998 to 2002.
According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana: “During her time as the Chairperson of the Governing Board, she led the examination sub-committee to develop the structure for conducting the professional licensing examination for the nursing degree programme from the University of Ghana. It was also during her time that the review of the NRCD 117 of 1972 and LI 683 commenced.”