John Lowell Kilgour

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 03 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2853
  1. Caroline Richmond
  1. 1London

    A civil servant and public health doctor who helped to eradicate smallpox

    John Kilgour was director of coordination at the World Health Organization and a major player in the smallpox eradication team, but he had three other successful careers: he achieved high rank in the Royal Army Medical Corp; rose to undersecretary in the Ministry of Overseas Development; and was head of the Prison Medical Service.

    His career in the civil service was meteoric, working in medical personnel and postgraduate education under George Godber and Henry Yellowlees before becoming, in 1971, head of the Department of Health and Social Security’s international health division. In 1978 he became undersecretary and chief medical adviser at the Ministry of Overseas Development, where he oversaw a rise in foreign aid from £7m (€8m; $10m) to £70m a year. During this time he was UK delegate to European public health committees and to the World Health Organization and was …

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