It is one of the most important figures in African medicine, but also one that broke with the old codes by becoming the first woman doctor in Algeria and at the same time first female doctor in Africa. Born June 28, 1919 in Kabylia, the “pioneering women doctors of Africa” has bowed December 31, 2015 in Tartous in Syria, at the age of 96. Back on an exceptional career in the world of public health.
A committed path
It all started after obtaining his degree in 1935. She decided to enroll in the Algiers faculty of medicine where she landed, ten years after his doctorate. A choice of atypical career, dare, because at that time the practice of medicine is only for “Western” men. A year later, Ms. Benallegue collaborated in the creation of the Algerian Society of Pediatrics, before being appointed in 1962 an associate professor of pediatric medicine.
Known for his strong character, the pediatrician has fought for many years to develop and build a better hospital structure in its establishment, and well beyond his pediatric service.
“It was a woman of great culture. She has always taken its responsibilities, particularly during the liberation war, “says his niece, Zahia Yaker.
This fight led to his being named head of the pediatric department of the hospital where she Parnet spent most of his career with rigor and discernment. The hospital now bears the name of Nafisa Hamoud, another woman doctor.
His career earned him a committed dedication April 20, 1982 when she was elected foreign corresponding member of the National French Academy of Medicine. After an exciting career of 43 years, Mrs. Benallegue decides to retire. It does not lose its momentum, as confirmed by her niece:
“My aunt has been very active.”
She wrote an autobiography in 2007 entitled The Duty of hope , the Casbah Editions, in which she reflects the sacrifices made by his father and family to follow a “normal” schooling in 1919, a school reserved for men. In this book, she also recounts her childhood in Aït Helli in Kabylia, and his experience later as part of his profession to which she has devoted hundreds of publications and seminars.
Ms. Benallegue career is not only a case in Algeria or Africa but also in the West. Indeed, it is one of the few women of her time and the first Algerian to break the codes of the old way of male hegemony in the medical field.
Following the death of her husband, Aldjia Benallegue-Noureddine joined his daughter who lives in Syria, Tartus, where she died on 31 December 2015. It could not be buried in Algeria, as she wished, because the security situation currently facing Syria.