Marleen Temmerman, the world’s most meritorious gynaecologist
Marleen Temmerman was born in Lokeren in Belgium in 1953. She studied medicine at the University of Ghent and later became a gynaecologist and professor at the same University and head of obstetrics at Ghent University Hospital. Temmerman was the first female professor of gynaecology in Belgium.
In July 2009 in Cape Town, she was awarded a three-yearly prize for meritorious gynaecologists by the FIGO, the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. She is also the manager and one of the founding members of the International Center for Reproductive Health (ICRH).
On 10 March 2010, Temmerman was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Medical Journal.
In 2012 she was appointed head of the Department of Reproductive Health and Research of the World Health Organisation. This department strives for a worldwide improvement of reproductive and sexual health.
She left the World Health Organisation in 2015. From October that year she started working for the development organisation Aga Khan Development Network in Kenya, where she became the head of the department of gynaecology and obstetrics at Aga Khan University and has become the executive for the West African Aga Khan network for women’s health and research.
Marleen Temmerman was also active in politics for a time. She became senator for the SP.A in 2007 and senate party group leader in 2011. She left active politics in winter 2012 because she was given a position in the World Health Organisation.
Temmerman has received an honorary doctorate from Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She became chairwoman of the HIV/AIDS advice group at the Inter-Parliamentary Union. She has received an honorary doctorate from the South African University of Western Cape. In addition, the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics named her the world’s most meritorious gynaecologist in 2009.
Professor Temmerman has been elected as International Honorary Member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in April 2022.
© Photo: UGent – Hilde Christiaens