Lives of the fellows

Elias Sanders

b.28 May 1916 d.June 1979
MB ChB SAfr(1939) DCH Eng(1947) MRCP(1948) FRCP(1973)

Elias Sanders, better known as Alec, was the first paediatrician in Zimbabwe. He gained a fine reputation in his field of medicine. It needed courage to set up his specialist practice amongst a relatively small and limited population upon whom to depend for a livelihood. But his judgement was correct, and his success encouraged others to follow him. The Government appointed its first paediatrician a few years after Sanders had started, by which time the value of his specialty to the public was recognized and he was appointed honorary consulting paediatrician to the Salisbury Group of Hospitals. A few years later, the Government appointed a full time paediatrician to Harare African Hospital. With the establishment of the Medical School in Salisbury, Sanders was appointed part-time lecturer in paediatrics and an examiner in the final MB ChB for five years.

He recorded several interesting observations, and was one of the ‘first’ to show that the early phase of bilharziasis (the Katayama syndrome) might be serious, with possible cerebral and cardiac effects.

Sanders took a most active interest in medical association affairs in what was formerly Rhodesia. In 1956 he was elected to the Mashonaland branch of the BMA and served as president of its council in 1963 and 1964. When Rhodesia declared itself independent in 1968, he continued as chairman of the reconstructed Rhodesian Medical Association. He also served on the medical advisory board to the Ministry of Health.

Alec Sanders married Joy Black, and they had three children, a son who also became a paediatrician, and two daughters.

M Gelfand

[Brit.med.J., 1979, 1, 1573]

(Volume VII, page 519)

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