Meet Uzoma Chioma Asagwara: The First Black Health Minister and Deputy Premier in Canada

A young Nigerian woman, Uzoma Chioma Asagwara has been sworn in as the minister of health and the deputy premier of the province of Manitoba, Canada. Uzoma has become the first black person and woman to achieve this feat after having served her legislative tenure as the first black in that position in the province of Manitoba and Canada.

Uzoma’s ascent to the position of Minister of Health and Deputy Premier in the province of Manitoba marks an exceptional milestone. She is not only the first black person to hold these positions but also the first woman. This groundbreaking achievement comes on the heels of her initial election to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in September 2019, where she became the first black person ever elected to this esteemed body.

Uzoma’s journey in Canadian politics began as a member of Manitoba’s New Democratic Party caucus. Her dedicated service as an MLA paved the way for her meteoric rise to the Deputy Premier’s office. Yet, her journey is not merely a tale of political success; it is a story of dedication, determination, and a strong sense of community.

Uzoma is not alone in her mission to reshape the political landscape of Manitoba. She serves under the leadership of Wab Kinew, the 25th Premier of Manitoba and the first First Nations Premier in Canada. Premier Kinew’s cabinet is a reflection of the province’s rich diversity.

Out of the 15 cabinet members, an impressive seven are women, a remarkable stride towards gender equality in government. Uzoma’s dual role as Minister of Health and Deputy Premier underscores her commitment to public health and her integral position in a government that values diversity and inclusivity.

Uzoma Chioma Asagwara’s roots can be traced back to Abia state in Nigeria, where she hails from the Olokoro Umuahia local government area. Her journey from the heart of Nigeria to the political heart of Canada is a testament to the strength of the immigrant experience. It is a story that speaks to the contributions of immigrants in shaping the social, cultural, and political fabric of their adopted homelands.

Before her foray into politics, Uzoma had established herself as a registered psychiatric nurse, addiction specialist, and community advocate. Her extensive experience in healthcare and advocacy has undoubtedly prepared her for the challenges of her current role as the Minister of Health.

Uzoma’s story is not limited to her political achievements. Her life has been a tapestry of diverse experiences. She is a former basketball player with a stint at the University of Winnipeg and the Canadian National Basketball team. Her experiences on the basketball court undoubtedly shaped her discipline, teamwork, and determination, qualities that have translated seamlessly into her political career.

In her previous role as MLA for Union Station, Uzoma was the official opposition critic for health. Her commitment to public health and her legislative accomplishments, such as passing a bill to recognize Somali Heritage Week, underscore her dedication to community representation.

From Nigeria to Manitoba, from the basketball court to the legislative assembly, and from a newcomer in Canadian politics to a groundbreaking Minister of Health and Deputy Premier, Uzoma Chioma Asagwara’s story is a reminder of the fact that no dream is too big, no barrier too high, and no ceiling too strong for those who are driven by a passionate commitment to public service and the betterment of their communities.