A tribtue from David McCoy
A teacher, a role model, a good laugh …..
A tribute from Fran Baum @baumfran
Vale David the best friend and comrade - we will continue the struggle for health in your name - you worked tirelessly now rest well my dear friend
A tribute from Louis GR @LouisGeorgeVonB
Devastating news. Hamba kahle David. We will miss you greatly but the struggle you devoted so much of your life to will continue. Aluta continua!
A tribute from Anthony Costello @globalhlthtwit
OMG. My hero. A brilliant man who stood for the highest principles of equity and health. I was about to message him about his Lancet commentary. RIP. And love to Sue and the family.
A tribute from Anthony Costello https://medium.com/@am_costello
David Sanders, the child and community health professor at the University of the Western Cape, and a long-standing political activist who inspired so many people, died just a week ago. He wrote this book [The struggle for health: Medicine and the politics of underdevelopment] as a junior doctor in the 1970s, which brought to our attention the ‘causes of the causes’. He was a great mentor and a founder member and advocate for the Peoples Health Movement. His acerbic contributions to international conferences were a joy to behold, and through his warm provocation he held many of us to account. I shall miss his humour, his insightful criticism, and his dynamism. Last year I spent a week with David and Sue in South Africa when he regaled me with stories of fly fishing with George Melly, Trotskyite activism in Britain in the 1970s, and child nutrition in south Africa.
A tribute from Dr. Mary T. Bassett @DrMaryTBassett
I am shattered at this news. I met David over 30 years ago when I began my years in Zimbabwe and, like so many, owe much to him for friendship, political analysis and support. He never faltered. A terrible loss.
A tribute from Bridget Lloyd
David has been a stalwart of the struggle for health and social justice for all here in South Africa and globally, making personal sacrifices throughout his life to do what he believes in. He has been my mentor and friend and just so hard to believe that his larger than life presence is no more. I know everyone will be feeling the same sense of loss. Its just too soon after Amit.
A tribute from Tara Brace-John
Tribute to a fierce health warrior: David Sanders, 1945–2019
A tribute from Adila Hassim
Such a shock. What a loss. My condolences to Sue and the family.
A tribute from Carlos A. Monteiro, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of Sao Paulo
This is the Brecht statement that made me remember David.
There are men who struggle for a day and they are good.
There are men who struggle for a year and they are better.
There are men who struggle many years, and they are better still.
But there are those who struggle all their lives:
these are the indispensable ones.
Professor Carlos A. Monteiro
Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of Sao Paulo
A tribtue from Irene Agyepong @IreneAgyepong
What a loss to Public Health. The struggle for health was one of the public health books burnt in my menory. Condolences to his family friends and UWC SOPH.
A tribute from Benita Mayosi
The Public Health Activists Community has lost a giant. David spoke his mind and challenged government on health inequalities that exist in the country. I worked with him to establish Water and Sanitation Task Team in Khayelitsha. He was instrumental in establishment of strong partnerships between government, researchers and community members. Together with the School of Public Health we created a model for the City of Cape Town on how to implement Water and Sanitation programmes for informal settlements in Cape Town. May his spirit of Ubuntu continue to motivate all South Africans. Rest in peace
A tribute from Naomi Levitt
David Sanders served on the CDIA Governing Board from our inception, initially as a member and then as Chairperson for the last 5 years. In this role he was valued enormously. He always sought to constructively challenge any existing paradigms. He encouraged CDIA to have a broader research and policy agenda to encompass engagement in the upstream determinants of health. He was a fierce supporter of UWC and promoted the growth and development of junior researchers. Despite his busy travel schedule he always found time to attend our annual meetings, engage with our students and offer invaluable support including acting as Chairperson of the Advisory Board on one of our major studies. In our ongoing commitment to making the world a better place through our research and engagement, we will always remember and honour David.
I will be thinking of you all
A tribute from David Werner
David Sanders, pioneer of Health for All – as remembered by David Werner
When David Sanders died suddenly of a heart attack on August 30, 2019, it was a great loss. But his many friends and colleagues around the world can take heart that his passing did not leave a vacuum. To the contrary, David left a legion of fellow travelers around the world who, thanks to him, are today more strongly committed, better prepared, and have a greater sense of solidarity to continue the uphill struggle for health. After his passing, the huge outpouring of appreciation for his exemplary contribution worldwide makes it clear that his contagious spirit, boundless energy, and unflinching honesty in the face of power lives on in the vast spectrum of people – from community health workers to international movement organizers – who had the good fortune to know him.
Indeed, so many fine tributes have already been circulated in praise of David Sanders that it seems there is little more to add. Therefore, I will focus on my own personal interaction with him, which began over 40 years ago.
I first met David in the late 1970s in London, where he was working for Oxfam. At that time, David was in exile from his homeland in Rhodesia, where he’d been a strong proponent for that country’s independence from Great Britain’s colonial rule. As a pediatrician in that land, David had an early exposure to the devastating impact that entrenched inequalities of power had on the wellness of the subservient population. Thus, in the pursuit of health and social justice, he’d become an avid activist in the grassroots movement for Rhodesia’s independence. Faced with threats to his life, he went into exile to the UK, where he continued his advocacy for Rhodesia’s independence.
On one of my trips to London during that time, to present a paper on “Health Care and Human Dignity”, David Sanders invited me to his circle at Oxfam. He’d used my books Where There Is No Doctor and Helping Heath Workers Learn in his community health promotion in Rhodesia, and in our Hesperian newsletters he’d read about Project Piaxtla, the villager-run health program in western Mexico I’d helped start. He told me of his goal, once Rhodesia was liberated, of helping the newly independent country set up a national health program based on Comprehensive Primary Health Care, in which local community health workers – chosen for their commitment to the common good – would be agents of change in the promotion of a more equitable, just, and thereby healthier society.
No sooner did Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe – in May 1990, win its independence from the UK, than David Sanders at once returned to his homeland, where he was recruited to play a key role in forming the new Ministry of Health.
In that early realm of independence, David Sanders invited me to visit Zimbabwe, both to witness the new, people-centered mobilization that was underway, and to share some of my experiences of community-based health promotion in Mexico and elsewhere.
Part of David’s motive in bringing me to Zimbabwe was for me to give presentations and exchange observations with key honchos in the new health ministry, some of whom were still wedded to the conventional model of Western (i.e., colonial) medicine, with its hierarchical pecking order and its focus on sickness rather than health.
For a while, David and his cohorts made good progress with the new, more holistic, community-centered initiative, along the lines heralded in Alma Ata as “Primary Health Care”. The nation’s top decision makers – still imbued with the revolutionary spirit of newly won independence-- made space for this more democratic, people-empowering approach to health care. But sadly, as so often seems to happen in human history, those who had been heroes in the fight for liberation, once they rose to power, gradually became oppressors themselves. As wealth again began to concentrate at the top and the state became more authoritarian, priorities shifted. The egalitarian, more empowering community-based approach to health promotion advanced by David and his colleagues fell out of favor with the controlling class – especially with the conventional medical establishment. His detractors began to hit below the belt, lambasting David as a “white colonial” who was trying to impose second-class services on what he viewed deep-down as second-class people.
This was painful for David who was deeply committed to health and fair treatment for all. In time the barriers to advancing universal primary health care in Zimbabwe became so great that David decided to move to South Africa. At that time South Africa was still under apartheid rule, with a huge gap in wealth and health between the white elite and the black majority. But it was not without hope for change. There was a strong and growing resistance led by the African National Congress (ANC) and others. Even the medical establishment itself was divided. After the mainstream Medical Association of South African (MASA) defended a doctor who had overseen the torture of Steven Biku, an outspoken leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, a portion of MASA’s members split off in protest. They then formed NAMDA (National Medical and Dental Association), which took a united stand for racial equality. NAMDA also introduced a network of community-based health care in shantytowns, providing training and backup for local, relatively unschooled, but socially committed health promoters.
As part of the coordinated effort to promote international awareness and solidarity in support the South African struggle against apartheid, David Sanders and his colleague reached out to the global health community. Among other actions, David arranged for NAMDA to invite me to visit the mushrooming shantytowns outside Johannesburg and to engage in an educational exchange with its field organizers. While there, we shared experiences and methods for implementing CBHC (community-based health care) in marginalized communities, and encouraging people to analyze the social and physical determinants of health and to work together to improve their situation.
This exchange – instigated in large part by David – took place (I believe) in 1992. The growing anti-apartheid tide was then being countered by a ruthless escalation of repression, curfews, and arrests of activists. Many in the struggle grew discouraged. But David and other leaders of NAMDA were confident that the racist regime was planting seeds of its own demise. Its draconian clampdown on protest only triggered greater resistance. … And sure enough, in an attempt by the ruling class to quell the rising storm, Prime Minister F.W. de Klerk agreed to hold South Africa’s first all-race, democratic election. In May 1994, Nelson Mandela – who had been freed after 27 years in prison – became South Africa’s first president of the nation’s post-apartheid era.
Much of the more recent history of David’s indefatigable role in promoting health-for-all and social justice – in South Africa and worldwide – is well known to his contemporary friends and colleagues. Many have given tribute to his on-the-ground research and service-oriented training of students, which he spearheaded for decades at the University of the Western Cape. I will therefore focus here only a few more of my own undertakings with David, with which some of his younger colleagues and admirers may be less than familiar.
Everyone is aware of the seminal role that David has played in the formation and ongoing pursuits of the People’s Health Movement (PHM). But fewer may be familiar with his previous key role in the International People’s Health Council (IPHC), which in many ways was the precursor of the PHM.
The International People’s Health Council was launched in Managua, Nicaragua, in December 1991, at the closure of a small international symposium on “Health Care in Societies in Transition”. The symposium and the IPHC that grew out of it were conceived and organized by several of the same pioneers in Primary Health Care who, nine years later, in 2000, would be instrumental in midwifing the first global People’s Health Assembly (PHA) and the People’s Health Movement that grew out of it. These key players in launching both the IPHC and the PHM included Zafrullah Chowdhury (Bangladesh), Mira Shiva (India), David Sanders (South Africa), Maria Zuniga (Nicaragua), and myself. The idea for the symposium had initially been conceived several years before, during the Sandinistas’ heyday in Nicaragua, when revolutionaries, backed by a diverse workforce of brigadistas de salud (community health brigadiers), had overthrown the tyrannical Somoza government and set up a people’s republic. In a few short years, the fledgling government – backed by strong community involvement – had achieved spectacular improvements in health. Inspired by this success story, our motley group of health activists decided to hold the transitions seminar in Managua. We saw Nicaragua as a shining example of a society in transition to achieving better health. Ironically, however, we delayed too long in getting our symposium off the ground. In 1990, after years of ceaseless attacks by the US-financed “Contras” and of infiltration by the CIA, the weary population voted the Sandinistas out of power and voted in a coalition government that was puppet to US imperial interests. Rapidly the people-supportive agenda of the Sandinistas was rolled back, the gap between the rich and poor grew wider, and the population’s health once again began to deteriorate. Sadly, Nicaragua was not alone in this pattern. Similar reversals in democratic process and in the health and welfare of the people were then taking place in many countries, spurred by economic globalization with its structural adjustment mandates and so-called “free trade” agreements. So our transitions seminar, initially planned to learn from societies transitioning to better health, ended up discussing transitions that were endangering and worsening the health of societies. Our seminar’s challenge was to explore possibilities for reversing this retrograde process. (All this is written about in David Sanders and my book, Questioning the Solution – see below.)
We felt our seminar’s analysis of the current social and political determinants of health, and possible action for coping with them, were important enough they should be recorded and shared. So Maria and I and others put together a booklet of the proceedings, which we titled Health Care in Societies in Transition (published by HealthWrights in English and by CISAS in Spanish). We also thought the dialogue we had begun should be continued, with more health activists participating. Hence we launched the IPHC, which grew in size and had subsequent international meetings. The most notable of these events took place in Palestine and in South Africa – the latter adroitly organized by David.
After a few years, PHM – with a much larger cast of players – took over and expanded the role of the role of the IPHC, whose mission it continued. David was a wise and dynamic spearhead of both.
David Sanders wrote over 50 groundbreaking papers and several books. His first book, The Struggle for Health: Medicine and the politics of underdevelopment, published in 1985, was a bombshell. It likely did more than any other publication to awaken the international health community to the fact that a population’s health is determined more by the distribution of power and resources than by health services per se.
Over the years David and I realized we shared similar perspectives on health and social justice. In the mid-1990s we started writing a book together, which we eventually titled Questioning the Solution: The politics of Primary Health Care and child survival. I visited Cape Town and he visited California to complete it. This book is lengthier than The Struggle for Health and contains a lot of examples from Latin America (most extensively Mexico, Nicaragua, and Cuba). As a case-study, the book explores in-depth the worldwide promotion of ORS (oral rehydration solution) for the treatment of diarrhea. (For this reason, with tongue in cheek, David and I titled the volume Questioning the Solution. The idea for the title was David’s.) Undoubtedly, the vast promotion of mass-produced packets of ORS has substantially lowered child mortality from diarrhea. Yet, as Questioning the Solution points out, other solutions – namely homemade cereal-based drinks – may have saved even more children’s lives – and done so less expensively, more quickly, and more effectively, with less dependence on a distantly-produced commercial product that may not always be available. Yet the economic leverage by Big Pharma on WHO and UNICEF to promote their commercially-produced ORS packets (which rapidly became a multi-million dollar business) stacked the deck in their favor. So it was that the less ideal but more profit-generating option has been universally promoted, sidelining less costly, more quickly available, and potentially more effective home solutions. The consequences of this grand-slam marketeering may have cost millions of children’s lives – and still does.
David felt very strongly about this exploitation of children’s health and the myriad other ways in which Big Pharma, Big Sugar, Big Oil, Big Ag, Big Water, Big Media, and other corporate superpowers put profit before people – and before sustainable life on the planet.
Sadly, our companion David Sanders is no longer with us in person. But his struggle for “health for all” lives on in the minds and hands of the countless friends and students and activists whose lives he so deeply touched. We all owe it to David to indefatigably keep his action, his vision, and his passion – and his wry sense of humor – alive.
A tribute from Carmen Baez
I met David Sanders in South Africa in the period immediately post-Apartheid when we were building a new universal health system for all. I remember the first years listening at conferences and meetings to his clear and powerful message about the strategy of Primary Health Care, community participation, intersectoral approach, social determinants of health and other concepts. I had arrived from Mozambique with experience of a socialist health system based on PHC with very little knowledge about other systems beyond my own experience.
In those days I was working for the Gauteng Health Department and my boss and comrade, Dr. Rafik Bismilla, offered me the opportunity to attend a meeting in Cape Town related to the “progressive“ approach to health. I got to understand a while later that this was a preparatory African meeting towards the foundation of the People’s Health Movement. I was delighted to meet people who, on reflection today, influenced my life forever: David Sanders who had already impressed me as I said; David Werner who wrote “Where there is not doctor”, a book widely distributed in Mozambique; and Zafrullah Chowdhury, who wrote a book about the politics of drugs in Bangladesh, an issue that I did not fully understand at the time.
The 3 day meeting made a huge impact on me because, for the first time, I was understanding clearly the power struggle in the health field. After the meeting, I took on the task of mobilizing organizations and individuals to go to the meeting in Bangladesh. I differed with Dave on some issues; he was not very convinced to bring on board government officials although they had been anti-apartheid activists before. In retrospect, he was right; most of them were absorbed by the system and did not support the PHM work for long.
In December 2000 in Bangladesh, a quite small South African delegation was part of the first Peoples’ Health Assembly. There I was able to appreciate the role of David as a global activist; every time he spoke I observed people identifying with his messages about the contesting power structures, the medical hegemony, the importance of defending the PHC principles of Alma Ata, and the arguments for building a movement from the bottom up.
From then on we were comrades in a newborn global health movement and continued to be until his passing. Back home, both of us started to build up the PHM in SA; he did it through his academia and other networks, and I by distributing the PHM Charter in every work meeting where I could try to recruit new sympathizers. I believe that the PHM today is a strong and respected civil society voice in SA thanks to his persistent and visionary work.
The following years we became also colleagues with David, sharing joint projects between HST were I worked and SPH team led by him. His professional experience as a pediatrician in rural areas treating malnourished children enriched his academic inputs on these projects to improve the life of children.
At the same time, I decided to do my MPH at UWC at the School of Public Health newly founded by David and others and I enjoyed each subject and appreciated the methodology and the progressive approach taught. The winter and summer schools of the distance course were crucial to reach more people and provide them with the tools and knowledge to convert them into public health workers and managers. This was the essence of David’s vision, so practical and appropriate in this phase!
He became the tutor of my mini thesis about the Cuban medical mission in SA, he played this role with the impartiality and scientific rigor characteristic of David.
Recently we had the pleasure of a visit by David to Argentina again, this time invited by one the member organizations of the PHM Argentina, the Family Doctor’s/PHC doctors Association, to their annual congress. The Argentinian participants at the last PHA in Bangladesh in 2018 were impressed by him (like me many years ago), and were very kind to have him here with us. So, I was asked to facilitate his participation. It was difficult to find dates but finally he came and he even went to Patagonia for a couple of days for some trout fishing, one of his passions.
We were happy that young participants, amongst them my son Pablo Rall, who acted as his translator, had the opportunity to get to know one of the icons in the struggle for health for all in the world and heard his strong message to keep aloft the banner and continue to defend the principles and vision of Alma Ata, not UHC. We adopted the Alternative Declaration of Astana and will take it forward as his legacy.
Without knowing it, this was our farewell to Dave.
With deep sadness and still in shock, I would like to say to my comrade, colleague, professor, tutor and friend:
A luta continua for health for all!
Hamba kahle David!
A tribute from Stelios Comninos
David was my prime fishing partner for more than 35 years – in the dams and streams of the Nyanga Mountains and on farm dams in Zimbabwe; and more times than I can remember on the Zambezi River at Mana Pools. In South Africa we fished the UMzimkhulu and Bushmans rivers in KZN, the Western Cape streams as well as the rivers in Rhodes in the Eastern Cape. We also fished as far afield as Ireland, Patagonia and Venezuela – and we were in the process of planning a trip to Slovenia next year. The last time we were together we resolved to fish at least one exotic location per year. I liked it that our families were friends: our kids knew each other from early childhood, and Sue and my wife Julie were good companions, especially while David and I fished.
Of course David fished in many other places while he travelled the world doing his primary health care thing, like I fished in post-conflict countries in Africa while consulting! David was the only person I know who was a match to my angling obsession and who always travelled with a rod and was willing to go anywhere to catch even the tiniest of fish.
Fishing with David was not just about fishing. It was filled with lots of banter about each other’s fishing abilities and techniques. Although his techniques and fishing gear was sometimes rudimentary and suspect, he did catch a remarkable number of fish! And of course jokes were very much part of our trips. He was able to tell jokes perfectly with perfect accents were – especially Jewish ones. David humorously created our fish size classification table as follows: nephews, fathers, uncles and grandfathers. Even when I am fishing without David, I mentally apply that classification.
It was very difficult getting David off the water in the evenings, particularly on the Zambezi where we still faced a long upstream canoe paddle through hippo infested channels back to our camp. There was always one last cast, and then another… It got to the point where I used to throw the bait into the water to stop him fishing. He never understood the danger of the hippos intercepting us at dusk! Nor was he concerned about crocodiles lurking in the pools where he waded to catch bream – his favourite Zambezi quarry.
I remember one evening in Ireland where I was feeling a bit under the weather with severe flu and needed to get back to our B&B to rest, but David refused to get out of the river. He eventually took pity on my condition and drove me back to the B&B - and immediately returned to the river to fish on his own in the dark until 2am! I lay in my bed unable to sleep, thinking what I was going to tell Sue if he got lost!
Of course, politics was always an essential part of our fishing time together. Whether it was David trying to get me to toe his line (so to speak!), or providing me with his analysis of the past, present and future of Zimbabwe and South Africa. I must admit, he was almost always right. My favourite quote of his is “South Africa is like Zimbabwe – instant replay but fast forward!”.
He was always wanting to know what was happening politically, socially and medically where ever we fished – no matter how remote the location. He spent time in discussion with the camp guards, workers, guides and ghillies that we fished with. He was particularly attached to our constant companions at Mana Pools: Gift and Orchid who were game guards there. They visited us every night for a beer and tots of whisky and an occasional meal. We fished with them on their off days – always leaving a rod or two, hooks and things on our departure.
I will miss fishing with David – and having him as my friend. He would understand why I am not here in person today, because I am fly fishing on the Orange River – with him in in my thoughts.
A tribute from Max Kroon
Dear Sue, Lisa, Ben and Oscar
I am so sorry for your loss.
It’s been more than 2 weeks since I heard and I still cannot belief that David is gone. His voice was so strong and upbeat when he phoned on the morning of his departure to the UK to check that my fishing cottage had not burnt down and to proudly inform me he was going to buy himself a “fishing Zimmer frame” at Hardy’s in London.
On a recent fishing trip, David confessed to 2 addictions: Fishing and Work but I know his family was closest to his heart. David and I fished together more than we worked together and he pushed me beyond my comfort zone in both.
He made me go as far upstream in considering the determinants of neonatal health and paediatric HIV as he did with fishing: dragging me into the 2006 Burden Of Childhood Illness project, convening a Child Health Policy course and to the remote Mana Pools on the banks of the Zambezi surrounded by crocodiles, hippos and elephants (a place where he had learnt to fish) or fishing late into the early hours on the Kromme estuary because the tide was right. He was even prepared to get up ridiculously early, in the cold, to head out on the river after his usual double caffeine hit of freshly ground Kenyan coffee and Jasmine tea.
David was not a fishing snob being equally at home fishing with earthworms for Bream on the Zambezi as with prawns for Grunter in the Eastern Cape or with a dry fly for trout on the mountain streams of the Western Cape or on the rivers of the UK, Argentina, Norway and New Zealand. He was excellent and entertaining company being as comfortable with my wacky family as with my children who took a great shine to the old man “with the purple nose”. David’s culinary skills surprised, being able to turn even a humble Blacktail into quite the tastiest fish dish I have ever tasted!
He pushed his fishing addiction to the very limits: Happy to continue bream fishing amongst the Zambezi hippos and crocs with the sun setting and a considerable paddle back to camp, the only way to stop David fishing was to take away his bait while we still had enough light. When we were late off the streams he would say “Max, my boy, we’re going to get cold tongue for supper tonight” and, if he did not catch much, he would accuse the fish of being anti-Semitic!
Sitting now on the banks of the Kromme, struggling to find the words for this, I can see David waist deep determinedly drifting a prawn for Grunter in the pushing tide, I can hear his excited shout – “Maaax!” - floating up from the river when he caught something big. (Proud expert ”tiddlers” catcher that he was.)
David may be gone but his memory is with me now and will be into the future.
Fishing will not be the same without him. I am a better person for having met him.
A tribute from Simon Metcalfe
I first met David Sanders in 1969. I was a first year student at the University of Rhodesia, David was five years older, a senior medic student and a student leader. I969 was the year the Rhodesian Government held referendum to form a republic and entrench the position of the white minority. The university was unique in the country as being a multi-racial institution was entrenched in its charter. I remember a protest march one night from the campus to the community hall in the suburb of Mount Pleasant. David was with the student leaders, wearing a white lab. coat. While Ian Smith addressed the white folk in the hall we students flooded the foyer and sang ‘Ishe Komborera Africa’ (God Bless Africa). Ian Smith responded by singing ‘Bobbejaan klim die berg’ (Afrikaans song – ‘Baboon climb the mountain’).
I witnessed David Sanders as a social activist then and there. We were all escorted back to the university by the police, white and back, flanked by their Alsatian dogs. David may have been arrested at this time with other activists, but I can’t remember exactly.
I met up with David again in 1980, just after Zimbabwe’s independence, following a bitter bush war. David was the Oxfam Medical Director and I worked for Save the Children Fund (UK) (SCF). David was responsible for recruiting several highly motivated doctors to work as District Medical Officers, well placed to lead the roll-out of a new radical new primary health care (PHC) programme. The Alma Ata Declaration of 1978 had emerged as a major milestone in the field of public health and had identified PHC as the key to the attainment of the goal of ‘Health for All’. The Oxfam programme David led was primed from the outset to help the Ministry of Health in Zimbabwe to pilot and implement the policies and projects involved at the cutting edge district level and below to the wards and villages. It was an incredible five years of PHC implementation – Village Health Workers, Immunization, Diarrhoea Disease Control, Nutrition, Water and Sanitation etc.. David was very interested in the Under Fives’ Well Baby Clinic and Road to Health cards, analysing nutritional ‘wasting’ and ‘stunting’.
From this nutritional analysis a programme evolved – The Child Supplementary Feeding Programme (CSFP). The CSFP was designed, planned and driven by David Sanders. All interested NGOs, international and national, coordinated with the MOH’s Department of Nutrition, chaired by David. The scope reached out across some 55 communal districts in the entire country. Some agencies, including mine, advocated we used a nutritional drink called ‘mahewu’, which was commonly used in the pre-school children’s play groups. Mahewu was a locally manufactured sorghum based powder. You could buy bags of it, transport it anywhere, and just add water – ‘done and dusted’.
David tore down that approach saying it was a quick fix that fuelled commercial food producers, with no sustainability and no inherent and redeeming health awareness raising aspect. Instead he pushed for and forced through a massive, complex and detailed programme. Mothers and children around the country would come together and be taught to mix peanut butter, cooking oil, mealie meal, and beans together. They would benefit immediately from the protein and energy and would learn the value of so doing. In addition all the mothers’ group would be encouraged and helped to set up gardens, near water sources, where they would grow groundnuts and beans.
No more details, just a salute to a Herculean effort to do the right thing for the nutrition of all the young children in an entire country.
Another potent story from the days when David Sanders was the Oxfam Medical Director, as well as university teacher and a MOH advisor, concerned the genocide in Matabeleland and the Midlands of Zimbabwe. Oxfam had several DMOs in these area. When news started filtering in of the intimidation, beatings and killings occurring around 1983, some Oxfam doctors were front line witnesses. David’s ears were burning and he tracked down all the information he could glean, including from the provincial surgeons – the facts and the photos.
I attended a meeting of the national and international NGOs to receive the feedback from David and others like the Catholic agency for Justice and Peace. The outcome was that the local NGOs, being vulnerable, asked a group of international NGOs to make representations to the Zimbabwe Government. I may not remember them all but they definitely included Oxfam (UK), SCF (UK), Novib (Netherlands), and American Friends (USA Quaker). I was then the SCF Field Director and with the NGO reps, under OXFAM leadership, attended a meeting with the Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, and his security ministers. David didn’t attend as the Oxfam Field Director, Michael Behr, led our group. But, the knowledge and the investigation was strongly driven by David, as well as the follow up.
We sought reassurance from Mugabe that what we were witnessing and hearing of was either not true, not by his authority, or would stop immediately. Mugabe asked what evidence we had. Actually, we had evidence but, tactically, we said we had not come to accuse the government with evidence on hand; we had come for an assurance that the beating and killings would stop. At that point Prime Minister Mugabe went into patronizing mode and gave us a long lecture on how the political party, or faction, ZAPU, had renegades who were threatening then new democracy and had to be stopped. I won’t say more for as many of you will know the history of the Gukurahundi massacres.
Over the years my wife, Debbie, and I met David and Sue Sanders socially, sharing many mutual friends from both Zimbabwe and South Africa. At a recent social lunch, the Gukurahundi story came up, which David had been following ever since. He told me he wanted to write up and publish all the knowledge he had on it. He had tracked that the expiry of the British Act on ‘official secrets’ had revealed the complicity of the UK and the western governments to the genocide. David was not a man to let social injustice be forgotten!
I remember partying with David and Sue at the millennium New Year. The party was at my place so I was DJ ‘numero uno’. I vividly recall being approached by David saying “you can’t dance to this … just play some rock-n-roll – Chuck Berry, Rolling Stones, sixties and early seventies music”. Once he got his way he hit the dance floor with gusto jiving away with Sue or any person who could rock and roll as well as he could!! I also enjoyed days at Newlands watching cricket with David.
David was a great joke teller, many of them emanating, to my mind, from his ethnic Jewish roots - quite sardonic: A) would you like to have a long marriage, or B)……..B,B,B, Be! I laughed but not as much as he laughed. Sue laughed too. I wasn’t sure if she was laughing at the joke, or just happy to see David laugh.
These are some of my memories David.
My sincere condolences to Sue who has witnessed it all, and to his children Ben, Lisa, and Oscar. I hope they treasure the good memories of David for ever.
A tribute from Dr Raman Gokal, Emeritus Professor of Medicine
UCRN and UCR Medical School- My recollections 1963-67
When I was newly entering the field of public health in the mid-1980s, I was greatly influenced by David’s book “The Struggle for Health: Medicine and the Politics of Underdevelopment” (London: MacMillian, 1985) – and the dedication (which I am reminding myself of now, as I hold his book in my hands) says much about his lifelong commitment to health justice: “This book is dedicated to the children of the poor in Zimbabwe and their mothers who made me learn something about the struggle for health.” Ever since, I looked to and learned from his ceaseless work & his critical contributions at meetings [...]
What a tragic loss! David has been an indefatigable advocate of justice and equity in health forever — his legacy serves as an inspiration for us all everywhere. May he Rest In Peace.
Really sad news about David's passing. He was a titan in the public health field and an inspiration to generations of researchers, students and colleagues. It has been an honor working with David and experiencing his vast knowledge, unexpected humor, and great insights about virtually everything from research methodology to wine tasting. He will truly be missed. My condolences to his family and the wider UWC community. May his soul rest in peace and may his legacy live on.
A tribute from Claes-Goran
I am indeed very sad after getting to know that David suddenly passed away. I only met him a few times, but immediately found him as a very kind person being extremely initiated in several scientific fields related to our SMART2D project. I greatly enjoyed our discussions, regardless if we talked about diets in general, or more specifically about Stellenbosch wines during the visit with dinner he arranged for us in this area.
My thoughts also go to his wife, although I never had the opportunity to meet her.
A tribute from Brian Oldenburg
Dear Thandi and Public Health Colleagues in SA,
I’ve just head that David has “passed away”; this is so sad and I can imagine that you and many others are feeling so much pain and grief at the moment with the passing of one of the world’s truly great public health heroes and a wonderful man. I just wanted to say HELLO and to let you know that myself and many others around the world will be thinking of the public health community of South Africa at this time and your/our world’s great loss.
Best wishes and thoughts from “Down Under” Australia,
A tribute from Judith Head
It is hard to imagine that Dave is no longer around. A few weeks ago when I saw him last he was relaxed, enjoying having more time with Sue, enjoying his fishing but still full of energy and as driven as ever to make a difference. Like Rudolph Virchow, for Dave public health was politics and he lived and breathed politics and the politics of public health. Dave was one of the generation of liberation support activists working in London, where I first met him, in the late 1960s and through the 1970s until he returned home to independent Zimbabwe in 1980. I got to know him when he and Sue and the children moved to Cape Town and our families grew close. The Struggle for Health opened a whole new world for me. It revealed the class dimensions and health consequences of poverty and inequality. I started to attend Winter and Summer Schools and then applied to do the Masters in Public Health. It was a wonderful experience and informed my own practice as an academic. David was always generous with his time and would make space in an incredibly busy schedule to give a talk to first years or lead a seminar with Masters students. He was a brilliant teacher and loved teaching. His lectures were awe-inspiring. He managed to explain complex and challenging ideas in accessible and amusing ways and his millions of slides, which were legendary, were always riveting. As I think about him and see the outpouring of respect and affection for him I am reminded that the down-to-earth, modest and unpretentious Dave that I knew was a great man. It is very sad to try to imagine a world without him; his friendship, his jokes, his comradeship and commitment, his inspirational leadership and his absolutely unwavering struggle for social justice and socialism. I shall even miss having to change seats several times in the cinema to avoid the pop-corn eaters when he came to watch a film with Sue and I.
A tribute from Sandy Lazarus
I am so very sad at our loss of David. I would like to pay tribute to David - particularly as a longterm UWC colleague and his role as a leading public health activist.
I have many memories of working closely with David, in and through various academic activities. I have also followed his numerous contributions to public health debates and practice.
I have always been struck by his longterm commitment to the health of and for all and, in particular, his courageous fight for equity and social justice. His persistent contribution to a critical public health perspective has played a central
A tribute from Wanga Zembe, South African Medical Research Council
I met David through Tanya Doherty in 2005 when I was an intern at HST. Since that initial meeting he played a huge role in my career development. He was instrumental in my decision to study in Oxford in 2008, he encouraged me to consider studying there because of a group of researchers that he knew in one of the departments who were working in my field. He proceeded to link me up with those researchers and wrote a glowing reference for my application. And that’s what really characterized his mentorship of me: always letting me know of any opportunities that related to my area of interest whether that was project funding or a key person in the field that he thought would be helpful in my career development or co-presenting with him and co-authoring writing projects. He was always available to give input on anything I was doing, he was always encouraging and supportive. He had a shocking dry sense of humor, shocking because looking at him one didn’t expect him to have any funny bones in him!
He taught me about research activism. He didn’t conduct research for its own sake, to him it was a means to an end and that end was social justice and equity. He was a fiery, fearless socialist and when I told him I was a somewhat budding socialist he said “Really!? Then you must join the People’s Health Movement!”. And I did. I read his seminal book The Struggle for Health. He taught me that politics is in everything: health is political, poverty is political, policy making is political. I miss him dearly and I will remember his booming voice “Wanga!” whenever we would meet. He was humble; able to rub shoulders with high level scientists, academics and policy makers as well as ordinary people, community workers and community members.
What a loss for the field, for his family, for all of us. I aim to honor his input in my life by committing to research activism, by never forgetting “the causes of the causes”, and by following his mentoring model when supporting young researchers within my sphere of influence. I hope to be as fearless as he was in confronting injustice.
As Isaac Newton once mentioned, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." I have seen further because of Prof. Sanders and will forever be grateful for the light he shed in my career. May he rest in peace.
Deeply saddened to hear the loss of our distinguished Prof David Sanders. My condolences to the wife and children.
It was such a great honour for me to have known such a great person: an Academic-par-excellence. As my MPH thesis supervisor, was always available to guide despite local/national/international commitments.
May his soul rest in eternal peace
David, we are shocked and at a loss of words on your sudden departure. You have touched many lives in Southern Africa and beyond. We will miss you.
I was profoundly influenced by the statement below in the preface to The Struggle for Health "Some readers might object to the use of the world 'underdeveloped' to describe the countries of the 'Third World'. This book takes the same approach as John Berger:
'The term "underdeveloped" has caused diplomatic embarassment. The word "developing" has been substituted. "Developing" as distinct from "developed." The only serious contribution to this semantic discussion has been made by Cubans, who have pointed out that there should be a transitive verb: to underdevelop. [...]
Although South Africans have justifiably taken David Sanders to their hearts, I think it’s important to remember that he was a Zimbabwean. His fierce dedication to always seeing and working with the political aspects of health care and policy, was honed in and with his connection to liberation in Zimbabwe. That was the basis of a truly global vision for his work. I don’t think a historian ever did a proper interview with David about his political history but it was deep and substantial and I am so sad that many of his stories and perspectives will now not be shared. [...]
A tribute from Mario dal Poz, Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil
I just learned about David’s death. This is a moment of great sadness for global public health, but more importantly , to the SOPH community. I feel very sad.
Please, send my condolences to his family and friends.
A tribute from Hugo Mercer, Universidad Nacional de San Martin
Dear Uta and colleagues
I share the feelings of loosing David, he was one of the most distinguished scholars in the field of Public Health at global level. At the same time a honest and compromised intellectual.
He will rest in peace after a very productive live.
A tribute from Sue Godt, formerly International Research and Development Centre, Canada Sharmila told me the news about David Sanders. Am so sorry to hear. It is the passing of an era and a person whose commitment and vision inspired many. His legacy is so great. Please pass on my condolences to his wife, family, friends and colleagues. Thinking of you. Sue
A tribute from Steven Knight, University of Kwazulu-Natal
"So sorry to hear this sad news. We interacted with him lots at Limerick (The Network Towards Unity for Health 2018 conference) last year. I hope he will be acknowledged at the conference this year. I think he was on the executive committee at some point. I will make sure that the organisers know. He was a great guy." The network annual conference happens next week in Australia.
A tribute from Professor Sylvia Tilford
To Professor Uta Lehman and all at the School of Public Health
Like so very many others I was so shocked to hear about David’s sudden death and the very sad loss for his colleagues, family, friends and the global health community. Please can I extend my most sincere condolences to all of you at SOPH and to David’s family. David’s ‘Struggle for Health’ was a key influence on me when I first entered Health Promotion, many years before I met him at UWC. He was someone who, for me, held the right values said the right things but, of great importance, was also actively engaged in making things better. Few of us can leave such a legacy behind. I mainly met David as part of the UWC link with Leeds Metropolitan University. Although I wouldn’t claim to have got to know David very well during that time I have many good memories of him. He always gave me things to think about and was kind and considerate to me as a visitor. Personally, and I speak also on behalf of colleagues at Leeds Met, I felt privileged to be able to work, even for a short period of time in SOPH. He was someone I expected to see involved in the things he cared about for a long time yet. I hope he understood how much he was respected and was an inspiration for others. It seems fitting that he died doing something that I remember him enjoying so much . I am with you in spirit at this time.
Yours very sincerely
A tribute from yogan pillay @ygpillay
A true internationalist and champion of primary health care. See his publication warning about Medicalization and commercialization of health under UHC in August issue of the Lancet
A tribute from Delanyo Dovlo
A wonderful man and dear friend! We flew together from a Kampala mtg in July! Never thought it would be the last I’d see him. Rest In Peace Guru.
A tribute from Robert Marten @MartenRobert
David @PHMglobal was the epitome of a stalwart; he was also warm, approachable and fun. He challenged and inspired and will be dearly missed at many #globalhealth meetings and beyond.
A tribute from Stefan Peterson @stefanswartpet
Thx David for keeping us sober and focused over the years!
A tribute from Martin McKee @martinmckee
This is awful. I’m so sorry. We first worked together over 21 years ago on a study in his native Zimbabwe and I’ve valued his commitment, insights, and humanity ever since. A real public health hero.
A tribute from Dr Flavia Senkubuge @flavia04
RIP my dear friend David, you were the tree under whose shade we rested.
A tribute from Don de Savigny @Don_de_Savigny
Oh no. What a loss. He has been such an inspiration to so many of us.
A tribute from Remco van de Pas @Rvandepas
David, you have been an inspiration and will be dearly missed. My path would have been different if i wouldn't have met you and all other inspiring PHM folks. Your dedication to social justice, solidarity, your passion and your perseverance have touched many! La lucha continua
A tribute from Kesete Admasu @KeseteA
Oh dear! The world has lost a brilliant mind and champion of primary health care. Great man! RIP Prof David Sanders.
A tribute from Godelieve VanHeteren @GoVanHeteren
Very sad news. David was always there and stood firm for people and health for all. May he rest in peace.
A tribute from SarojiniSama @SamaSarojini
For many of us he was a mentor, an outstanding teacher, friend and a tall intellectual.His demise is without doubt an irreparable loss not just for PHM, but to the entire global health movement.
Adios, comrade David!
A tribute from Rakhal Gaitonde @rakhalgaitonde
What a great loss.... What a great life... Inspiration... Conscience keeper.... Friend... Will miss your powerful voice and mischeivous smile.... Rest in power David... Hasta Siempre!!
Dear comrades in South Africa even as I struggle to make sense of this loss... My thoughts and solidarity with all of you at this time of grief.
A tribute from Mia Malan@miamalan, Editor-in-chief: @bhekisisa_MG
I loved David Saunders’s humanity. This is such a sad loss. RIP.
A tribute from Barbara Stilwell @bathebrit, Executive Director, Nursing Now Global Campaign
Vary sad to read this news. David Saunders was a colleague for more than 20 years. Respect Dr Saunders. You fought the good fight.
A tribute from Kent Buse @kentbuse
Let us all redouble our efforts to pursue social justice & health for all to honour David’s commitment to the structural transformation he called for: just last week he pushed us to go further on a rights-based approach to healthy diets.
A tribute from Renier Coetzee @reniercoetzee
Condolences to family, friends and colleagues of Prof David Saunders. He will be dearly missed at the School of Public Health UWC and globally in the field of public health. May he rest in peace.
A tribute from Oliver Johnson @ossjohnson
So sad to hear about the death of David Sanders, a fierce and principled advocate for social justice in global health, who has always been who an inspiration and role model for me.
A tribute from Benjamin Tsofa @TsofaB
This is really sad news to the Global/Public Health fraternity. RIP David!
A tribute from René Sparks @rene_sparks
What a great loss 💔
A tribute from Noma Rangana @Gcaleka
So long David Sanders! A fighter for social justice and access to quality health care for all, an academic and an advocate for change. Rest in peace!
A tribute from Sridhar Venkatapuram @sridhartweet
The passing of an inspiring and productive colleague in #globalhealth. An fierce advocate for people centred #globalhealth and equity in the process and outcomes. I wish those who seek to carry on his work and vision much luck and courage.
A tribute from Bruno Meessen @bmeessen
A very sad news. David was somekind of a political and moral pillar for the whole global health community. We will all miss him a lot. All my affection to his many friends and @SOPHUWC Colleagues.
A tribute from Maylene Shung King @MayleneSK
David seamlessly and effortlessly combined activism, tirelessly so, and academia, eloquently so. A rare combination in a unique and extraordinary man. We shall miss your insights and wisdom very much David!!
A tribute from Damaris O Kiewiets @KLONGKIE
So true, I am the Health activist that I am because of him. My mentor in Public Health for many years. His last contribution in my life was his encouragement to show case my work in New Delhi in October. Rest well Prof
A tribute from Dr Shakira Choonara @ChoonaraShakira
Hearing Prof Sanders #revolutionary presentation @ev4gh to how he chaired my meetings recently (hilarious) & how he promoted always as a young expert, this is heartbreaking but indeed a contribution like no other to our field.
A tribute from Nasreen Jessani @NasreenJessani
Stunned and saddened. Rest in peace Prof. Sanders!
A tribute from Miriam Mitchell @MMitchellNZ
Such a sad loss of @DavidSandersSA. Grateful to be influenced by his humble leadership and advocacy in #PHC. Condolences to his family and the @SOPHUWC community.
A tribute from Sara Causevic @SaraCausev
I was so fortunate to get a chance to meet him last summer at @SOPHUWC. What a great and kind man. Truly a big loss for #globalhealth community.
A tribute from Su-Ming Khoo @sumingkhoo
Thank you for this tribute. May David's legacy stay with us when we 'always “Question the Solution” in the search for equity and social justice'.
A tribute from daktre @prashanthns
Will miss you David Sanders; will cherish your wisdom, your compassion and continue to be inspired by your commitment to #HealthForAll; your words and deeds live on...
A tribute from zohair maazi زهير ماعزي @zohairmaazi
A public health hero passed away in south Africa. We will remember you dr David Sanders.
A tribute from Carina Vance Mafla @CarinaVanceEC
You will be greatly missed dear David Sanders. The struggle to achieve the right to health for all has lost one of its most talented, knowledgeable, and passionate leaders. Rest in peace. We will follow your lead.
A tribute from Jesse Bump @JesseBump
Very sad news: Legendary advocate for primary health care David Sanders of @PHMglobal and @UWConline has died. He will be missed, but many of us will continue his work and sustain the fight.
A tribute from Kumanan Rasanathan @rasanathan
David Sanders was a keeper of the PHC flame, and one of the most inspiring people in public health. He was my mentor, as to a whole generation of public health workers. What a tragic loss for his family, for @PHMglobal, and for all of us. #HealthForAll NOW - in his memory.
A tribute from Nontokozo Mponda @urbanruralistZA
In the few moments I shared with Prof Sanders he made me realize that change will not come if we wait for it. We must bring the change and people will follow. #RestEasyProf
A tribute from Jess Rohmann @JLRohmann
One of the first movements that drew me to public health... David Sanders will be greatly missed!
A tribute from Kindeya G.hiwot, Prof @DrKindeya
RIP Prof David Sanders!
A tribute from Dr Flavia Bustreo @FlaviaBustreo
Thanks David Sanders @PMHglobal for your powerful voice and relentless struggle to ensure #health is a #right for every one. RIP
A tribute from Majdi Ashour @Majdiashour
Very sad news about the passing away of David Sanders! The South African advocate for the right to health and the Jewish comrade who eternally supported the Palestinian strugle for peace and justice. You will be missed. Rest in peace, David!
A tribute from Jennie Popay @Popay100
The sudden death in London yesterday of South African doctor, academic & health campaigner David Sanders will sadden all who knew him. In these dark times with social and health inequities growing the loss of his commitment to global health justice opens up an enormous chasm.
A tribute from Vivi MartinezBianchi @vivimbmd
David Sander, leader of public health movement, dies at 74. Sad to hear of his death. It was an honor to have met him at @who always working for #UHC.
A tribute from Godfrey Philimon @Sentipensares
We have lost our Founding Father, all time Mentor and friend and just so hard to believe that his larger than life presence is no more. Everyone is feeling the same sense of loss. Its just too soon after Amit 😔.
A tribute from Nonhlanhla Nxumalo @Nonhlnx
We have been inspired by your passion & authenticity. Hamba kahle David. Rest in peace.
A tribute from Hannah Brinsden @hannahbrins
This is very sad news and a loss to global health. His passion will live on through all the people he inspired over the years. RIP x
A tribute from Taufique Joarder @taufiquejoarder
Rest in peace my public health icon.
A tribute from Equitableaccess @russ421
Glad you got in some fishing . Will miss you !!!! You ran a good race and your legacy will continue.
A tribute from Nana Yaa Boadu @nanayaa_boadu
Sad to hear this! Definitely a hero in the eyes of many established and emerging public health, health and social justice heroes!
A tribute from Raman VR @weareraman
Met him in 99, friended by 2004 as part of PHM peoples health assemblies. He later visited us to study Chhattisgarh's Mitanin CHW program, got us to write about its uniqueness, and took us to UWC and SA which eventually led to my MPH there. Several memories. Sad adieu, David!!
A tribute from Elevanie NYANKESHA @ElevanieN
Your legacy stays with us David. May you rest in eternal peace
A tribute from Tara Ballav Adhikari @NepalChirp
Saddened by the sudden demise of our dear comrade Prof. Sanders.
He has been a champion of the struggle for health and an inspiration for the many young aspirants in the global health community. He will always be in our thoughts, and forever in our hearts and action.
A tribute from Rifat Atun @RifatAtun
What a great loss to us all. A great leader of global health with a passion for equity, David inspired so many of us. May he Rest In Peace
A tribute from Kenneth Munge @kenneth_munge
Very sad news
A tribute from Anuj Kapilashrami @AKapilashrami
Very sad news and a great loss for all of us. He's been a true inspiration for all of us in the health movement.
A tribute from Derek Yach @swimdaily
Terribly sad, huge intellectual loss
A tribute from Brian Ruff @brian_brianr
A huge influencer in my life for 40 years; so sad. A terrible loss for the activist health community.
A tribute from Kelley Lee @profplum8
David recently co-authored a chapter for our forthcoming book. We’ve known each other for many years and I’ve always deeply respected his commitment to integrating excellence in research with social justice. We will miss you David.
A tribute from Bulela Vava @ruraldentistSA
What a loss to the global health movement. He was a champion for the marginalised a leader. We take up the baton and continue where you left. Ugqatso lwakho ulufezile. Rest in eternal peace
A tribute from Mbulawa Mugabe @MbulawaMugabe
Oh No... David! a veteran of public health in Southern Africa May his soul rest in eternal peace. His contribution to public health will always be remembered by some of us who had the honor to know and work with him. Such a dignified and pleasant personality.
A tribute from Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA) @globalgapa
Very sad news. A big loss for the global public health community.
A tribute from Professor Clare Bambra @ProfBambra
Was privileged to meet David earlier this year, a great advocate for public health, rest in peace
A tribute from Dr Arun Gupta @Moveribfan
So sad to hear about David passing away and just recall as we met in January this year at Bangkok! Such an inspiration he had been !
A tribute from Su-Ming Khoo @sumingkhoo
Terrible news. A sad loss to his family and the @PHMglobal family. Rest in peace, David and thank you for your lifetime efforts, your gifts to advance global #healthequity
A tribute from Dr Melissa Mialon @MIALONMelissa
Very sorry to hear this. I am grateful to have kno health wn him. One of the person who truly inspired me.
A tribute from Dr Ritu Sadana @RituSadana
A great loss to all in global health - David was key in shaping the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health, civil society engagement, to be meaningful, authentic and impactful.
A tribute from Mike Rowson @MikeRowson2
Such sad news. David kept the goal of comprehensive primary health care on the agenda in difficult times when narrower visions dominated. He knew that political change was what would achieve ‘health for all’ and created social movements to demand it. What a loss.
A tribute from John Gillies @JohnGillies6
His books in the 80s & 90s were very important in orientating me and many many others to the need for effective primary health care in Africa and beyond. RIP
A tribute from Maisam Najafizada @Mayysam
I have read and referenced him so many times that I feel like he was my personal friend. His latest commentary on PHC and UHC was with me in my trip with a highlighter. You will be missed, David.
A tribute from Owain Williams @whanbam1
A truly great man and intellect. So sad to hear this
A tribute from Rachel Julia Thompson @racheljuliathom
✨ We bonded over many things including our mutual heritage - the shtetls of Lithuania. I vow to honour your life and work through my own efforts towards equity in health and beyond ✨
A tribute from Katherine Rouleau @RouleauK
Heartfelt Condolences to his friends and family. David brought an important and consistent voice to the global discourse on justice. He will be missed.
A tribute from Derek Yach @swimdaily
Just last week David was highlighting the value of PHC as UHC rhetoric takes off. Recall our discussions in Harare so well in the late '80s.
A tribute from Charles Apprey
Sad to hear about the passing on of David.
He has been such an inspiration to all of us on the ROFE project and has always had a great sense of humour any time we met as a Project team. Sad he did not live to see the end of this Project. Rest in perfect Peace David.
A tribute from Anne Langdji
As a former student, I was impacted in so many ways by Professor Sanders, as so beautifully shared by colleagues, students and collaborators. The nature of the School of Public Health at UWC is that it forms students and research to be engaged in health work for the most vulnerable in the most effective ways and that is his legacy. He was welcoming and encouraging to us. He brought us together and made sure that workers and researchers and activists knew they were part of a community that could bring about transformation. My sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues.
A tribute from Tolib Mirzoev
Really sad news. These things never come in time. My sincere condolences to your family David. Your colleagues, friends and the wider academic and policy community will miss you greatly. May your soul rest in peace.
A tribute from David Werner
David Sanders, pioneer of Health for All – as remembered by David Werner
When David Sanders died suddenly of a heart attack on August 30, 2019, it was a great loss. But his many friends and colleagues around the world can take heart that his passing did not leave a vacuum. To the contrary, David left a legion of fellow travelers around the world who, thanks to him, are today more strongly committed, better prepared, and have a greater sense of solidarity to continue the uphill struggle for health. After his passing, the huge outpouring of appreciation for his exemplary contribution worldwide.
A tribute from Craig Nyathi
Prof Sanders really altered my view of what was required to improve the health of my people. His passion for nutrition i will never forget. His ability to factually dispel myths surrounding public health was second to none. There won't ever be one like him. Go well David. I am grateful for everything I learnt from you!
A tribute from Mirna Lawrence
FOR DAVID SANDERS
It was with shock and grief that I learnt of David's untimely passing.
I had seen David the previous week, and chatted with him via WhatsApp on the Thursday, 29th August...and then, so shockingly and tragically, he was gone.
To me, David was a beloved 'cuzzie'; the extent of his influence in the world of social health, unknown to me. His achievements have only became evident to me since his passing, in reading the luminous praise heaped upon him by his colleagues, students and friends, for his sterling and innovative work in health care. It is a measure of the man that in the lifetime I have known him, David was always self-effacing, humble and never self-aggrandising, to the extent that only now do I realise what a giant of a man he was, not only as a person, but in the legacy he has left South Africa, and the world. His humility camouflaged his remarkable achievements.
The David I know was always gentle, kind, generous with his time, family orientated, and open hearted. That is how I shall remember him always. It is a privilege to have known David as a person, and humbling now to realise that additionally, he was also a giant among men. A Great Tree has fallen.
We shall remember David always, with deep affection, respect and gratitude that he enriched our lives in that gentle way of his.
All our love and comfort to Sue, Lisa, Ben and Oscar.
Mirna, Ayanda and family
A tribute from Desderius Haufiku
David was academic giant, he shaped many of us. May his soul rest in peace.
A tribute from Ravi Ram @ravimram
David's passing is a huge blow to all of us. So good to see good memories of David with each of us being shared today. His spirit and passion live on through the movement that he was so instrumental in founding.
A tribute from Unni Karunakara @UnniKarunakara
A terrible loss for the health community. First Amit, now David. annus horribilis.
A tribute from Tracey Perez Koehlmoos @DrTraceyK
I am greatly saddened to read this. A loss for global public health. An example to us all.
A tribute from Ptinnemann @ptinnemann
RIP David. Every thought exchanged with you was an inspiration!
A tribute from Andrew Harmer @andrew_harmer
Oh, this is such sad news. I'll miss those devastating questions from the floor, delivered with that disarming, critical drawl of yours. A laser mind that cut through all the crap! Rest in peace, David.
A tribute from Iftikhar @dociftee
What a inspiring person he was, great contributor in Global Health Care.
A tribute from Chepng'etich B @cheptich
David Sanders taught us at the Charite Universitätsmedizin Berlin. He taught us to always question everything. Words many of us still work by. A great loss.
A tribute from Rima Afifi @rima_justice
What a huge loss. David was so committed to issues of justice. May he rest in eternal peace. Condolences to his family, the PHM family, and the public health community around the world.
A tribute from Marielle Bemelmans @marielle_wemos
What a sad loss of such an inspirational leader in global health. He will be greatly missed!
A tribute from Mao Torres T @MaoT99
It is very sad when loss us a comrades, more when are special comrades as David. David leaves us as legacy his intelligence, compromise and happiness for the struggles to right to health for the people.
Adiós querido compañero David.
A tribute from MoonL @MaroubraSky
It' so sad to hear this news on #DavidSanders
We won't forget his great contribution to health of people in the world. May he rest in peace.
A tribute from TJ Theepakorn @Jithitikulchai
My deepest condolences for the sudden loss of the remaining family members and friends. We will carry on the struggling humanity mission to promote equitable health quality for the most miserable people. Peace be with you.
A tribute from Ravi Ram @ravimram
May his soul be granted a well earned rest, and may we all continue the mission that he inspired us with.
A tribute from Mmusetsi Mokwatsi @mmuso_12
May his soul rest in eternal peace. A champion for NHI implementation. A resource person for the country. I have just read his article published in HST. A giant has fallen.
A tribute from Elvis Kama @elvis_kama
A great loss to the global health community. Very sad 😔. I hope his family find the strength to cope with such a massive loss.
A tribute from Kerry Cullinan @kerrycullinan11
Hamba kahle, David Sanders. Thanks for your big heart, generosity with knowledge and time and passion for improving the health of all - and relentless campaigning against all the world's exploiters!
A tribute from Apprey Charles @DrCharlesApprey
Sad to hear about the demise of David Sanders!, The ROFE Ghana team will miss you. Rest in Peace David
A tribute from Ranasaleh91 @Ranasaleh91
What a loss to the global health community! My condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues! RIP
A tribute from Opio Geoffrey Atim @geoffopio
Sad 😔, he inspires many, and may his spirit continue to propel advocates on to struggle for health and social justice. MHSRIP
A tribute from David Oginga @DOginga
Sanders has fought a good fight, he has finished the race. May his soul rest in peace.
A tribute from Austin Liu @austinlsliu
Very saddened to hear this. David's dedication to public health and social justice has been very inspirational. May he rest in peace.
A tribute from Patrizia @pat_fracassi
Very sorry to hear this sad news and privileged to have met him in person and being inspired by his passion for justice
A tribute from Boyd Swinburn @BoydSwinburn
This is sad news. What a champion over so many decades in a continent with so many needs
A tribute from Joshua Munywoki @joshuamuithya
May we keep it alive, that which he stood for during his life
A tribute from Amanda Banda @Anamajengo
What a sad and sudden loss to the public health and social justice movement! Thank you for your contribution!
A tribute from Michael Ssemakula C @ClainsKM1
I remember his last engagement with us in Uganda last month during #PHM_Uganda meeting, inspired me to stand boldly and firm for what is right even in the face of compromise.
Surely we have lost an irreplaceable academic & global health activist guru. May his soul rest in power.
A tribute from Ellen 't Hoen @ellenthoen
This is such sad news. He was an inspiration to all of us in the health movement.
A tribute from Klim McPherson @KlimMcPherson
A truly lovely guy who I have admired for decades. What a loss.
A tribute from Shuaib manjra @ShuaibManjra
RIP David. You’ve inspired an entire generation of healthcare workers and others in a quest for accessible and affordable healthcare for all.
A tribute from Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy @gailtomblin
My prayers are with David’s family and the School of Public Health and all who have had the privilege to know and to learn from David.
A tribute from Blanche Pitt
Very sad news indeed. I learnt so much from David while teaching at the SOPH during the infant years of what evolved into a remarkable program. Sincere condolences to Sue and family.
A tribute from Mboneni Tshuma
My condolences to the family, friends and UWC. He will be always remembered for his sterling work in trying to find possible solutions to Public Health challenges in whole of Africa. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
A tribute from Kate Tulenko
A tribute from He is a great man who has left an incredible legacy. May his memory be a blessing!
A tribute from Oumiki Khumisi
Sad indeed. He ran the race! Condolence to the family and MHSRIEP!
A tribute from Virginia Azevedo
Very sad to hear of his passing! A very special person that still had so much to share with all of us...
Condolences to his family
A tribute from Ramone Keenan Comalie
Condolences to the family, he will forever be remembered for the legacy left behind in Public Health
A tribute from Dessy Hishakenua Haufiku
Prof Sanders, go well you left your legacy, you shaped minds, you contributed to humanity and health. My his soul rest in peace.
A tribute from Stef Slembrouck
Very sorry to hear this sad news. My condolences to family, friends and colleagues. David was an academic giant and played a very important role in the establishment of the SoPH - and the DBBS-project.
A tribute from Cornelia Fester
Such a shock! Spoke about him on Friday! Heartfelt condolences to the family and the SOPH.
A tribute from Khushie Sambesiwe Nxusani
My condolences to his family and the Public health community. He will forever be missed🙏🏽
A tribute from Omosh Miruka
So sad. Fare thee well Prof. Sanders. You had a great impact on child health and imparted knowledge on many. I am a beneficiary.
A tribute from Tania Chandler-Oppel
O how sad. Condolences to the family
A tribute from Heidi Sauls
This is such sad news! Wishing his family all the strength and comfort during this time.
A tribute from Weliswa Binza
So sad to hear these news,rest in eternal peace Prof. We will keep the family in prayer during this difficult time.
A tribute from Zimkhitha Stuurman
A Great man indeed. May His soul Rest in Peace. I've learned alot from Him
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A tribute from Tajiri Khatiti Pupuma
Shocking news. As the public health community we are indebted to this gentleman who was indeed selfless and hardworking. May his soul rest in peace.
A tribute from Umesh Bawa
Strength to the family and his colleagues during this time of grief.
A tribute from Omondi Oketch
Heartfelt condolences to the family and the entire UWC fraternity. May his soul rest in eternal peace
A tribute from Moselinyane Letsie
So sad a giant tree has fallen, MHSRIP
A tribute from Lisa Wegner
So very sad. My condolences to his family. May his soul Rest In Peace
A tribute from Tian Johnson
What a tragic loss. Rest in power Comrade! ✊🏿
A tribute from Russel Piquer
Sincere condolences to Prof. Saunders' family and the UWC SOPH fraternity.
A tribute from Farai Kevin Munyayi
This is sooo sad! Rest In Peace Prof. 😢
A tribute from Laureen Bertin
This is the greatest loss. It has been a huge privilege for me to be in meetings with Dr Sanders - a giant intellect, a man of the greatest compassion and principle. Condolences to all who knew and loved him.
A tribute from David Oginga James Sanders.
You will remain in our hearts for forever. May your soul rest in peace.
A tribute from Walla Bin Walla
Condolences to his family and UWC SOPH friends and family. He ran a good race improving health systems and social sciences.
A tribute from Itai Josh Rusike
Rest in POWER. The Gentle Giant!!!
A tribute from Beverley Sebastian
So sorry to hear this. Condolences to David's family
A tribute from Nonkqubela Mabece
Oh no this is sad and shocking news indeed. What a loss to the nutrition fraternity not only in South Africa but in Africa and the world at large. He lived, breathed and walked and advocated for improved nutrition interventions for infants and childre…
A tribute from Lionel Green-Thompson
I am deeply saddened at this news. Just the other day I had the privilege of engaging him in the proposals for a new HRH plan. Lala ngoxolo, qhawe.
A tribute from Kelvin Vollenhoven
Condolences. Big loss for public health movement of South Africa.
A tribute from Stephen Mupeta
Ooh! What a tragic loss of this galant son of Aftica!! Yes, a galant son of Africa! He will be missed dearly by millions of us that he inspired. MHSRIEP
A tribute from Charlyn Langenhoven
Goliath Thinking of his family and colleagues in this difficult time.
A tribute from Azubuike Nwako
May his soul RIP. He convinced me to do MPH in UWC when we met in one of the AU technical meetings on nutrition
A tribute from Thuli Hlophe
Your work will live on Sir. Thank you for the contributions made in the Public Health sphere in Africa and beyond. ❤
A tribute from King Kayalendlovu Gacula
Sad news indeed. He will forever be remembered as a Public Health champion.
A tribute from Thembi Zungu
Sad day indeed for the public health fraternity and UWC as a teaching institution. Rest in Power Prof
A tribute from Chantell Witten
The Father of Public Health Nutrition😪 has left a void in many heart. Lala kahle Prof Sanders. May our Heavenly Father comfort your family during this time of morning.🙏🏽
A tribute from Baheya Najaar
What an icon. Will always be remembered
A tribute from Odhiambo Mak'Otieno
Quite a man who shaped my public health thought processes
A tribute from Patrick van Dessel
A baobab has fallen
A tribute from Oluyinka Adejumo
Sad to hear. May his soul rest in perfect peace
A tribute from Fatima Peters
Sincere condolences to the family and friends 😔Such shocking news...
A tribute from Desalegn Tegabu Zegeye
Professor Sanders made immense contributions to Primary Health Care globally. A great loss for all of us. May you rest in Peace.
A tribute from Anikamadu Michael
The late Professor David Sanders was a force to be reckoned with. I had the chance to study under his tutelage at the Universitiet van Wes Kaap’s SOPH. He was an authority on health matters and very versatile in social affairs. He left a vacuum that will be hard to fill. I join his former students and admirers in wishing him a safe repose, while commiserating with the family over the irreparable loss.
A tribute from Shafick Hassan
I had a close working relationship with Prof David Sanders from the early 90’s with the Kellogg’s funded community partnership project. A school of public health without walls. Condolences to the family.
A tribute from Chantell Witten
Beautiful said Uta. Thank you, David. Aluta Continua!
A tribute from Olayinka Esther Ayodeji
What a beautiful and graphic tribute.....you made David Sanders so real .....His contributions to the health sector....His students...His community... Zimbabwe...cannot be forgotten... his documetries...write ups...slides...and his intellectual investment in the health sector will continue to be a blessing to this field of human existence...…
A tribute from Lillian Nyambura Gitau
Oh so sad to learn of the loss of the legend of Public health. My condolences to the family and the UWC fraternity
A tribute from Ati Jals
Condolences to His family and the UWC fraternity
A tribute from Patience Shipalane
so sad my condolences to the family and friends.
A tribute from Laureen Bertin
A great human being.
A tribute from James Kruger
He was a Great Fearless Warrior. His memory and contributions 📝 will live on through the ages... Hamba Kahle Comrade David
A tribute from Kama Baku
He will be greatly missed.
A tribute from Anafi Mataka
Sad loss indeed
A tribute from Linda Garises
My Prof shame, such an academic bullet. It's a big time loss... We shall never forget him, he made an impact in our lives. MHSRIP!
A tribute from Elizabeth Asiimwe @ElizabethAsiimw
Oh no-Prof. Sanders. I remember him from the World Nutrition Congress in 2016 at UWC. Very knowledgeable and friendly Prof. I can't forget the delegates social outing at Panama Jacks lobster and sea restaurant where he pulled off his cool dance strokes. RIP Legend
A tribute from Dr. Mohammad Ali Barzegar
I was shocked to hear the sad news of demise of Dr. David Sanders. He was a believer of Health For All and a challenger for social justice.
With deep griefs and sorrow I condole his family, and colleagues in PHM, and wish his soul rest in Peace. With sympathy and solidarity.
A tribute from Reza Haque
Sorry to hear about the demise of David Sanders.
A tribute from Nonkqubela Mabece
Fondly referred to as David by everyone who he touched his/ her life; he might be gone, unbelievably so but his work and teachings will remain. We all have stories to tell about how he inspired each and everyone of his students, colleagues and or professional associates. Fair Thee well Prof!!!
A tribute from Boniface Hlabano
Tragic and very sad😪
Fondly remembered for his forthrightness when it comes to social justice in the Health sector