For her service to medicine and to Africa, Major Dr. Dawn Howse will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from St. John’s Memorial University. The ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 27 at the 10 a.m. session of convocation.
Honorary degree recipients are chosen by the Senate, the university’s academic governing body, after a very careful examination of the grounds for their nomination. The honorary doctorate is designed to recognize extraordinary contributions to society or exceptional intellectual or artistic achievement.
Dawn Howse graduated from Memorial’s medical school in 1978. Her first appointment was at Woody Point where she worked until 1981 when she moved into private practice in Corner Brook. Four years later she took a momentous decision; she would become a Salvation Army officer and put her medical abilities to use in Africa.
With training in tropical medicine at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, England, she went to Howard Hospital in northern Zimbabwe in 1988. In 1992 she moved to Tshelanyemba, near the border with Botswana, to a hospital that had been upgraded from a nursing station.
While there serving the 45,000 people in the region, she was the only medical doctor in the 105-bed hospital, supported by a staff of 25 nurses.
In that role, Dr. Howse managed the care of an average of 50 in-patients daily, and was consulted on management of an average of 25 out-patients daily. The hospital saw some 350 new tuberculosis patients a year, as well as men and women diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. In addition, she was consulted by the region’s midwives, doing about 40 ultrasounds per month, and performed about 20 surgical procedures per month.
Major Dr. Howse recently returned to Newfoundland after 20 years of service to Zimbabwe.