Lives of the fellows

Deepak Mahabir

b.1 May 1954 d.9 January 2004
BSc West Indies(1975) MB BS(1980) MRCP(1986) FACCP(1994) FRCP(1997) FRCP Edin(1998)

Deepak Mahabir was head of the nutrition and metabolism division at the Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago. At the Port of Spain General Hospital he was senior consultant physician responsible for diabetes services, head of the department of medicine, chair of the ethics committee and drugs advisory board, and acted as medical chief of staff. In addition he was an honorary senior research fellow at King’s College, London.

He was born in South Trinidad, the son of Leslie Mahabir, a school principal, and Monica Georgiana Sita Mahabir. He was educated at Presentation College and then completed a bachelor of science degree at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus. He then proceeded to Mona Campus, Jamaica, to obtain his MB BS in 1980. He left for England in 1984, where he worked in hospitals in London and the West Midlands. He gained his MRCP in 1986.

Soon after returning to Trinidad, Deepak Mahabir was appointed to Port of Spain General Hospital as director of the nutrition and metabolism division and consultant physician in diabetes mellitus. His unit provided nutritional guidance in relation to maternal and child health, as well as chronic diseases, at health centres and hospitals across the nation. At the unit he became intensely interested in applied research and developed his unit’s expertise in health services and public health research, working in collaboration with the Commonwealth Medical Research Council and King’s College London.

Mahabir was concerned with quality of care for patients with diabetes and hypertension. The nutrition and metabolism division contributed to the development of new clinical guidelines and organised many training workshops for health care staff. Nationwide audits were implemented across Government primary health care services in 1993, 1998 and 2003, and these showed steadily increasing standards of care.

Deepak’s unit completed a number of other important studies. His unit completed a nationally representative survey of the nutritional status of school children, which gave the first estimates from the Caribbean region of childhood obesity using new international standards. In 2001 his team completed a population-based survey of adults that used, again for the first time in the Caribbean, recently developed questionnaire measures of food insecurity.

Deepak was an Anglophile and was immensely proud of his associations with English institutions, especially the College, which he visited on his last journey to London in September 2003.

Deepak Mahabir is survived by his wife, Chandra, a senior chest consultant, and his two daughters, Sunita and Shivaani, both presently studying medicine. He also has a son Virender Deepak Mahabir, who also wishes to pursue a career in medicine.

Martin Gulliford

[Trinidad and Tobago News 11 January 2004 (www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/forum/webbbs_config.pl/noframes/read/1393); Brit.med.J.,2004 328 714]

(Volume XII, page web)

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