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Marie Thomas: Google Doodle celebrates first Indonesian doctor’s 125th birthday

Google Doodle celebrates the 125th birthday of the first Indonesian woman physician Dr. Marie Thomas, the country’s first female doctor specialist in gynecology and obstetrics, on February 17, 2021.

Who was Dr. Marie Thomas?

Dr. Marie Thomas
Dr. Marie Thomas

Marie Thomas was born on 17 February 1896 in Likupang, which is situated in the region of Minahasa in North Sulawesi. She was the first Indonesian woman to become a doctor.

Marie Thomas obtained her diploma from the School of Training of Native Doctors (STOVIA or School tot Opleiding van Indische Artsen) in 1922. She proceeded to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology and is viewed as the first Indonesian physician to specialize in this field. She additionally established a midwifery school in Bukittinggi.

In September 1912, Thomas entered STOVIA (School for Education of Native Doctors) and was supported by the SOVIA foundation. At the time of her enrollment, Marie was the only female student among around 200 male students.

Marie Thomas finished her studies at STOVIA in 1922 and was recognized as the first female graduate of STOVIA. She at that point began her medical practice at the main hospital in Batavia (presently Jakarta) called Centrale Burgerlijke Ziekeninrichting (CBZ) (presently Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital).

Marie Thomas would therefore work in Medan, Manado, and back to Batavia at Budi Kemuliaan Hospital, a hospital founded by the STOVIA foundation. Thomas at one point became an assistant to Nicolaas Boerma, a Dutch doctor who represented specialized in obstetrics. She was one of the first doctors to manage birth control and intrauterine gadgets.

Dr. Marie Thomas married Mohammad Joesoef who was likewise a doctor on 16 March 1929. They hence moved to Padang in West Sumatra where Mohammad came from.

In Padang, Dr. Marie Thomas took a position in the Public Health Service (DVG or Dienst der Volksgezondheid). They got back to Batavia following a few years in Padang. In Batavia, Thomas got associated with the Minahasa Unity party (Persatuan Minahasa) whose individuals included Sam Ratulangi.

Thomas and her husband eventually got back to West Sumatra, this time settling in Fort de Kock (presently Bukittinggi). In 1950, she established a midwifery school in Bukittinggi, which was the first in Sumatra and the second in Indonesia.

Famous for her generosity, Marie Thomas usually treated those unfit to afford her consideration at no expense. She further showed her passion for patient care by building up the first Sumatran school for midwifery; just the second of its sort in Indonesia at the time.

On Feb 17th, 2021, Google celebrates Dr. Marie Thomas’ 125th Birthday with a Google Doodle.

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