Obituary

Obituary

FREDERICK President of NORMAN the Royal WHITE, c.I.E., Society of Tropical M.D., D.P.H., Medicine Major I.M.s.(Ret.) and Hygiene, 1953-1...

2MB Sizes 178 Downloads 220 Views

FREDERICK

President

of

NORMAN

the Royal

WHITE,

c.I.E.,

Society of Tropical

M.D.,

D.P.H.,

Medicine

Major

I.M.s.(Ret.)

and Hygiene,

1953-1955.

367

OBITUARY

FREDERICK NORMAN WHITE, C.I.E., M.D., D.P.H., I.M.S. (RET.). President, 1953-55 ; Member of Council 1935-45, 1947-49 ; Vice-President 1945-47. Norman White was born in 1877, and died at Newbury on 3 June, 1964 at the age of 86. He received his medical education at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, qualifying in 1901. In 1903 he joined the Indian Medical Service, in which he rapidly gained promotion, being appointed to the Plague Research Commission in 1908, to the post of Assistant DirectorGeneral (Sanitary) in 1913, and to that of Public Health Commissioner to the Government of India (with responsibility for all branches of public health) in 1917. In the following 3 years he was faced with an epidemic of malaria, a severe outbreak of plague, the failure of the monsoon with its accompanying threat of famine, and, worst of all, the great epidemic of influenza which killed 6 million people in India. He resigned from the Indian Medical Service at the end of 1919, and became a medical officer of the Ministry of Health in England in 1920, but was soon chosen to advise the new League of Nations on the epidemic of typhus then ravaging eastern Europe. His experience in dealing with enormous outbreaks of infectious diseases in India fitted him for this task, in which he collaborated with French, Polish and Russian colleagues, in an area devastated by war, where conditions were almost unbelievably bad. White was then appointed Chief Medical Commissioner of the Epidemic Commission of the League of Nations, and in this capacity he visited the Far East, to report on health conditions, and particularly on the drug traffic and on the pneumonic plague of Manchuria. During this tour he conceived the idea that a bureau should be set up in Singapore, to collect and transmit information on infectious diseases in eastern seaports ; this was established as the Epidemiological Intelligence Bureau of the League of Nations, and its work has been of incalculable benefit. In 1927 he visited Greece at the request of the government, and founded the School of Hygiene in Athens, doing most of the teaching himself in the early days. He retired from the League of Nations in 1934, to live in Oxfordshire, where he soon gave his services as a member, and later an alderman, of the County Council, with special interest in rural health problems. He also served as Sectional Editor (Malaria) of the Tropical Diseases Bulletin for many years. His work for the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is reflected in the fact that he served on the Council, and as Vice-President and finally President, for 20 years. His Presidential Address in 1953 was a notable personal record of the enormous contributions made to the control of epidemic diseases, in conditions of the greatest disorganization and stress, by the staffs of the Indian Medical Service and the Health Organization of the League of Nations. White did not write prolifically, except in his reports to governments and to the League, and he did not contribute much to medical research except as a member of the plague commission. He was essentially a public health officer, fascinated by the urgent problems of transmission and control of disease, and aware of the importance of the social environments

368

OBITUARY

in which infections could flourish. As a corollary he recognized the decisive influence which government--international, national and local--could exercise in reducing ill-health by administrative action, and he gave his great intellectual qualities and force of character to combating disease on the grand scale. He was awarded the C.I.E. in 1916. White enjoyed his life, and particularly enjoyed the contacts with people, which his work entailed. He was the most entertaining of companions~, with a rich store of reminiscences of colleagues in many parts of the world. He married Kathleen Reid in 1906 ; she died in 1961. There was one son, who died in 1962.

We regret to announce the death of Mr. WILLIAM COOPER,Class Demonstrator in the Department of Parasitology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.