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Benjamin Henry Sheares Professorship in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

In 1930s Singapore, 70 to 80 women in every 10,000 died during childbirth. Neonatal deaths were 700 in 10,000. Against this backdrop, Dr Benjamin Sheares, the father of modern obstetrics and gynaecology in Singapore, graduated from King Edward VII College of Medicine (NUS’ predecessor institution) in 1929. Born in 1907 into a humble Eurasian family, the odds were stacked against his achieving his childhood dream of being a doctor. But his passion for medicine coupled with sheer hard work took him to the pinnacle of his profession, and from there to the Presidency of Singapore. An outstanding surgeon, Dr Sheares pioneered the lower segment Caesarean section in Singapore, which is now the gold standard for deliveries requiring surgery. Over the 25 years he spent at KK Hospital, he pioneered country-wide childcare clinics to improve ante- and post-natal supervision and enabled better training for midwives. By the 1950s, the maternal death rate was down to 7 per 10,000 and neonatal deaths were 4 in 10,000. Dr Sheares, the first Singaporean to be appointed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) at the University of Malaya in 1950, taught almost every prominent obstetrician and gynaecologist in the country. His keen interest in clinical research led to safer O&G care. Singapore’s mothers and children are in safe hands today because of him.

The Benjamin Henry Sheares Professorship will address critical academic challenges (research, education, clinical) in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology and to further raise the academic standards of obstetrics and gynaecology in Singapore and beyond. The Professorship is supported by gifts from the family of the Sheares family and other donors.

Click here to read about the current awardee of this Distinguished Professorship.