Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Taylor, Joseph (1928 - 1997)

OBE 1980; MRCS 1951; FRCS 1981; MB BS London 1951; DObst RCOG 1952; DO RCPSI 1965; LRCP 1951; FRCOphth 1989.

21 November 1997
General surgeon, Gynaecologist, Missionary and Ophthalmologist


Joseph Taylor was a former medical missionary in Tanzania. He was born in Czechoslovakia in 1928. In 1938 his parents brought him and his twin brother to England as the Nazis marched into Czechoslovakia. He studied medicine at St Bartholomew's.

After qualifying, he made ophthalmology his career, and went to Tanzania with the Bible Churchmen's Missionary Society in 1953. He spent the first 18 years in various hospital appointments and in 1971 moved to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, where he was medical superintendent and senior ophthalmologist. He worked closely with the Tanzanian government and the Tanzania Christian Medical Association to develop a national medical programme.

In addition to his work in ophthalmology, he did postgraduate work in gynaecology to learn how to repair vesicovaginal fistulae and other types of incontinence following obstructed labour.

In 1979, he was the first medical consultant for the Christian Blind Mission, applying the lessons learned in Tanzania to the development of rural health services in other African countries, teaching, writing and lecturing extensively on all these matters. He was awarded the OBE in 1980 for this work. His work on low cost spectacles and eye drops is now part of the literature of the World Health Organization.

He died on 21 November 1997 in Halton Hospital, Runcorn, survived by his wife, Joan, children and grandchildren.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England