Giants in History: Maggie Lim

Improving healthcare for mothers and children 

Maggie Lim (5 January 1913 - November 1995)


Maggie Lim (5 January 1913 – November 1995) was a Singaporean physician who promoted family planning and expanded the access to clinics to improve the quality of life for mothers and children in Singapore’s early days. She also made history by being the first young woman and second Singaporean to win the Queen’s Scholarship in the 45 years of the award’s history. After returning from London where she was trained as a physician, Lim worked as a public health officer in Singapore. She specialised in maternity and childcare and noticed that the children of poor women were often malnourished. To address this issue, Lim established a system of maternal and child health clinics in the young nation. Her efforts led to Singapore having the best maternal and child health service in the Commonwealth. As the Honourary Medical Officer of the Singapore Family Planning Association, Lim volunteered her time after work to advise patients on family planning to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, despite opposition from religious groups. In 1963, Lim became the head of the Ministry of Health’s Maternity and Child Welfare Department, where she continued to lead efforts in these areas until her retirement. For her significant contributions to maternal and child healthcare, Lim was posthumously inducted in the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014.  


Academic discipline: