Get the Fact

Dr. the Hon. Cicely Williams, OM was a Jamaican physician and a pioneer in the areas of maternal and child health. Her work with children in Ghana, West Africa highlighted the effects of the common protein deficiency, kwashiorkor, and led to significant developments in child care worldwide.


Dr. Williams was born in Darliston, Westmoreland in 1893.  She attended the Oxford University in 1916 to study medicine when there was much discrimination against female doctors.

Her career spanned over five decades, and she served on different occasions as:

  • Maternal and Child Health Advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Lecturer at Universities in England, Jamaica, and Lebanon
  • Professor of Maternal and Child Health at the American University, Beirut
  • Advisor in the training programme of the Family Planning Association, Beirut
  • Professor and Consultant in International Family Health at the Tulane University School of Public Health, Louisiana, USA
  • Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the School of Medicine, University of Maryland, USA


In January 1976, Dr. Cicely Williams was awarded with the Order of Merit, Jamaica’s fourth highest national honour.  She received honorary doctorates of science from the Universities of the West Indies and the University of Ghana in 1969 and 1986, respectively.

Dr. Williams died in 1992 at age 98.

Skip to content