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Remembering Moses Chirambo, Malawi Ophthalmologist & Minister of Health

Posted on August 15, 2010
Region: Africa

Professor Moses Chirambo passed away suddenly on Saturday, August 14 from complications due to surgery. His death is a tremendous loss to his family and to African and international ophthalmology.

Moses diligently worked for the prevention of blindness and played an enormous role in alleviating the suffering of so many in Malawi and East Africa.

He was the first Malawian ophthalmologist and a well-known public health physician in international ophthalmology, having served as a board member of the ICO and the Pan Arab African Council of Ophthalmology, now the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO).

He established the Southern Africa Development Corporation (SADC) School of Ophthalmology in Lilongwe, Malawi, was a regional advisor for Sight Savers International, and won numerous awards for his work, including the International Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the IAPB.

Dr. Chirambo, Professor Johnson Gordon and other colleagues conducted the first population based childhood blindness survey on Vitamin A and Xerophthalmia in Africa. He retired from ophthalmology in 2008 when he was appointed Minister of Health and a Member of Parliament for Malawi.

The ICO has received many messages about Moses from his colleagues and share some of them with you here:

  • The legacy of the good works he left behind will keep his memory in the heart of generations to come. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
    – Kunle Hassan, FRCS, FRCOph, President Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria and Africa Ophthalmology Forum
  • The untimely death of Dr. Moses Chirambo is a great loss for African and International Ophthalmology. He was an outstanding personality radiating optimism and humor in the face of daunting obstacles to achieve his goals. He will be missed as man of sober advice and judgment. We share in the grief of his family and countrymen.
    – Fritz Naumann, MD, ICO Immediate Past President
  • Moses was a unique figure in African ophthalmology. He was an example of what leadership, professionalism, enthusiasm, and devotion can achieve even under very difficult conditions. Moses excelled throughout his career, from his residency up to his serving as Minister of Health of Malawi.
    – Jacob Pe'er, M.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Israel
  • Moses’ contribution to African ophthalmology and prevention of blindness activities is incalculable. I have never met anyone who had a bigger smile than Moses and his joie de vivre was evident. He was a great man, a great leader and a great friend. He will be sorely missed.
    – Hugh Taylor, AC, MD, ICO Treasurer

Moses Chirambo is remembered through his legacy of major contributions to public health, ophthalmology, and epidemiology in Malawi, Africa, and the world.

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