Meet Marie Thomas, Indonesian First Female Doctor From Minahasa
A Google search page features an illustration of a doodle, Maria Joséphine Catherine Maramis aka Marie Thomas, the first female doctor in Indonesia. Google has given a special warning for the national hero of Minahasa, North Sulawesi.
Occupation Doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology
Known for First Indonesian female physician
Obstetrics is the field of study concentrated on pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. As a medical specialty, obstetrics is combined with gynecology under the discipline known as obstetrics and gynecology.
Born 17 February 1896 in the village of Likupang, Indonesia, Marie Thomas was born in history as the first female gynecologist and midwife. It was also shown by Google, through an illustration of Marie Thomas dressed as a doctor with a stethoscope, who appeared to be holding a small baby.
Citing the Google Doodle page, his parents were civil servants during colonial times. During her life, Marie Thomas often moved to Indonesia as a child before graduating from a European school in Manado.
According to the general ensikopedia (1973: 1324) compiled by AG Pringgodigdo et al. Marie graduated from the Meisjesschool (girls’ school) in Yogyakarta in 1912.
Thereafter, Marie continued her studies at the School of tot Opleiding van Indische Artsen (STOVIA), aka the School of Indian Physicians or better known as the Javanese School of Physicians of Batavia.
Ten years later, Marie Thomas obtained her doctorate, an achievement that had an international impact. Even a Dutch newspaper announced his graduation.
Narrated by Anna Pawlona Matuli-Walanda in Ibu Walanda-Maramis: Minahasa Women’s Warrior (1983: 37). Marie Thomas’s success as a physician was followed by other minahasa, namely Anna Karamoy Warouw of Amurang and Dee Weydemuller of Manado.
Dr Marie had served at Central Burgelijke Ziekenhuis (CBZ) or now known as Tjipto Mangunkusumo Hospital. In addition to Batavia, he was also assigned to Cirebon, Manado and Bukittinggi.
While in charge, she often took care of health and childbirth matters. Because the Indonesians of the time still very much prefer shamans than doctors or midwives.
Marie is also known to be the first doctor to introduce contraceptive methods, such as UID for women and mothers across the archipelago. He is known for his generosity and often treats the patients of the poor free of charge.
Her dedication as an expert midwife has helped educate midwives in Sumatra. Her work has made Marie Thomas a respected public figure.
The name of Marie Thomas also appears in Nh’s novel. Dini Amir Hamzah, Prince of The Opposite (1981: 156). Nh. Dini, like other writers, called her Indonesia’s first female doctor.
Happy birthday, Dr Marie Thomas. Thank you for her selfless dedication to the lives of others who paved the way for women in Indonesia to teach medicine and higher education.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons