Lives of the fellows

Hugh Vivian Morgan

b.16 June 1916 d.25 July 1995
CBE(1966) BA Cantab(1937) MB BChir(1940) MRCS LRCP(1940) MRCP(1941) MA(1942) FRCP(1955)

Hugh Morgan had a major influence on the development of medical education in Sudan. The programmes he helped to set up became models for other medical schools across Africa. He was born in Swansea, educated at Monkton Combe School and won a scholarship to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He went on to complete his clinical training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, where he was awarded the Gold medal in clinical medicine and qualified in 1940. During the Second World War he served as a major in the New Zealand Army Medical Corps and in 1946 became first assistant on the medical professorial unit at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. From 1948 to 1950 he was a British postgraduate fellow in medicine at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

In 1952 the Kitchner School of Medicine in Khartoum was united with the Gordon Memorial College to form the University College of Khartoum, later the University of Khartoum. Hugh Morgan was appointed to the foundation chair of medicine, a post he held for sixteen years. During that time he helped develop the high reputation of the faculty of medicine. He travelled widely in Sudan, often in a specially equipped railway carriage which he used as a laboratory, documenting the epidemiology of endemic tropical infections and other diseases. He arranged for postgraduate students to obtain training posts in the United Kingdom and followed their subsequent careers with interest. In 1966 he was created CBE in recognition of his work in Khartoum.

In 1968 Morgan returned to England on his appointment as consultant physician in tropical medicine and communicable diseases to the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board. Shortly after taking up his appointment the University of Birmingham awarded him an honorary professorship in tropical medicine. Hugh Morgan’s experience in Africa proved to be invaluable in the West Midlands which, at the time of his arrival, had many new immigrants, particularly from the Indian sub-continent. Some suffered from tropical diseases, including exotic infections such as leprosy and schistosomiasis in which he was an expert. His fluency in Arabic was much appreciated by Middle Eastern patients. He continued his interest in undergraduate and postgraduate education and became a focus for his former Sudanese students seeking further education in the UK.

Africa remained close to his heart after he returned to work in England. He was appointed a member of the tropical medicine research board of the Medical Research Council and made regular visits to Africa to advise on research and undergraduate education.

He had a strong Christian faith. His later life was regrettably clouded by Alzheimer’s disease which became apparent shortly after his retirement. He married his wife Peggy in 1953 and they had two children, a son who is a general practitioner and a daughter who is a veterinary surgeon.

A M Geddes

[Brit.med.J., 1995,311,1086; The Times, 5 Aug 1995]

(Volume X, page 347)

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