Africa's visionary editor

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 09 October 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:832
  1. Gavin Yamey
  1. BMJ

    Professor James Tumwine launched an African medical journal two years ago that is already indexed on Medline

    Professor Tumwine, associate professor of paediatrics at Makere University, Kampala, Uganda, was just 14 years old when his eye for a good story first caused a stir.

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    James Tumwine is fed up with the “hypocrisy” of journals such as the BMJ and the Lancet

    He was editor of his school newsletter, and every day his editorial team would post news stories on the school notice board. One weekend he went to a village dance. “There was a gramophone playing the cha-cha-cha,” he recalls, “and two of our teachers were there. It was below their status to go to this type of dance.” So he was astonished to see them there.

    He posted this “great news” the next Monday. The headmaster called an assembly, condemned James for his outrageous lack of discipline, caned him, and suspended him for a month, including two weeks of hard labour in which he had to hoe a section of dry earth. “It was my first time getting into trouble as an editor.”

    Professor Tumwine, a specialist in paediatric infectious diseases and formerly Oxfam UK's health adviser for the Africa region, is causing trouble again. Frustrated by the lack of medical journals that will publish the work of African researchers, he ignored …

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