Sandy Holt-Wilson

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 25 July 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4846
  1. Robert Hardy

Alexander Holt-Wilson (“Sandy”) was an ophthalmic surgeon who devoted his retirement years to tackling the problem of poor standards of eye care in the Gondar region of Ethiopia. He pioneered the restructuring and development of ophthalmic training in the region, and as a direct consequence of his work, 60 000 cataracts have been removed by nurse ophthalmic surgeons, an eye centre was built, and an ophthalmoscope costing less than £10 was developed.

Sandy’s interest in Ethiopia had deep roots. When Téwodros II, the emperor of Ethiopia, was defeated by General Napier’s army at the Battle of Magdala in 1868, his orphaned son, Prince Alemayehu, was brought to England, where Queen Victoria took a personal interest in his welfare. He was educated by Sandy’s great grandfather before progressing to Rugby School. This story attracted Sandy’s interest, and led to a longstanding fascination with Amharic culture and history, and Ethiopia …

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