Intended for healthcare professionals


Eldryd Hugh Owen Parry: cardiologist who founded the Tropical Health and Education Trust

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: (Published 03 February 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;380:p283
  1. Matt Limb
  1. Croydon, UK

Cardiologist Eldryd Parry made a major contribution to health system development and medical education in Africa and is revered by experts for a “visionary” approach that was “ahead of its time.” From the 1960s, he sought to understand what local people, clinicians, and communities most needed to deal with health challenges, particularly in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Nigeria, where he lived and worked for many years. He helped deliver training and development programmes that had a lasting impact in poor rural areas, building highly successful partnerships with UK hospitals and other health organisations.

Parry was founding editor of an influential textbook, Principles of Medicine in Africa, (first published in 1977), which put disease and its prevention in the context of society and culture to become more relevant to students than the books they were then using.

Tropical Health and Education Trust

By 1988 he had set up a charity, the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET), to train health workers to improve access to healthcare in many low and middle income countries. Parry once distilled THET’s philosophy as questions that could be put to those seeking support: “Where do you want to go, how can we help you get there, where are the gaps, how can we help you fill them?” It was not “we will do this for you,” he said. …

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