Intended for healthcare professionals


Peter Beales

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 04 April 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2164
  1. Ned Stafford, freelance journalist, Hamburg
  1. ns{at}

Fighter of malaria and other tropical diseases

In 1962, when Peter Beales began studying medicine at the University of Liverpool, he was not like most other students. He was 27 years old and married with a baby son. He was also more worldly than other students, having previously spent several years travelling to exotic locations in Asia as a staff member of the World Health Organization.

“He described himself as the ‘Old Man’ of the class of 1968,” says Barry Bywater, who as a member of the same class became close friends with Beales.

While working for WHO in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Beales had become fascinated with tropical medicine. He cared deeply about people in developing countries and wanted to help them. But he realised that, before he could fully participate in the global fight against malaria and other tropical diseases, he would need to be armed with a medical degree. So he returned to London and worked in a hardware shop until he was accepted for medical studies in Liverpool.

Bywater notes that, although it was …

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