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Professor Gottlieb Lobe Monekosso: The Life And Death of A ‘Baobab’


Bamenda, Cameroon-Wednesday January 10, 2018- 7:00 PM Local Time (Cameroon News Agency) The mortal  remains of former Minister of Public Health, former Africa Regional Director for World Health Organisation, WHO, professor Gottlieb Lobe Monekosso, will be laid to rest this Saturday January 13, 2018 at the Municipal stadium in Bwelelo, Dimbombari sub division in Mungo division, Littoral region.

The corpse removal takes place this Thursday from the General Hospital in Yaoundé at 9 am before departure to the University of Yaoundé 1 for Academic honors. The convoy will then head to Douala where traditional rites are expected to be performed at the Mukanda, Palce Dika Akwa.

According to the program, the corpse will be taken to Buea in the South West region, at his GRA residence where he will be laid in state around 7 pm local time.

Who was Professor Monekosso?



Professor Gottlieb Lobe Monekosso was born on 13 November 1928. He spoke English, French and functional Spanish. He was also fluent in his mother tongue, Douala, and Yoruba.

He attended Methodist Primary and Secondary schools in Lagos, Nigeria. He then proceeded to the United Kingdom where he studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital Medical School; he distinguished himself by winning the University of London Sanderson-Wells Prize for Nutrition in 1951.

Upon graduation, he obtained House appointments at Guy’s Hospital and later went on to the University College Hospital, Ibadan, in 1954 as Medical Registrar. He returned to the U.K. in 1956 and obtained higher qualifications: the membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the postgraduate degree of Doctor of Medicine of London and the Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, all in 1957.

He was appointed Senior Registrar in Medicine at Ibadan (1957-1958), then Lecturer in Clinical Medicine at Makerere College and Mulago Hospital in Kampala (Uganda). He undertook research in the Department of Medicine, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica during 1959. He subsequently became Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor at the University of Ibadan (1960-1963).

He was Professor and Head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Lagos (1963-1968). There he built a modern department with all the major system specialties whilst he himself established a community-based teaching and research project in neighbouring rural and urban centres.

In 1968, he became founding Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Dar-es-Salaam on a WHO assignment, and after two academic years, he returned home at the request of the Cameroon Government and gave up his WHO post to become founding Dean and Director of the University Centre for Health Sciences (CUSS) at Yaounde, Cameroon. He remained there for ten years. It is during this period that he devoted himself to teaching, health care and research in community medicine, and gained valuable experience in the coordination of multi-donor inputs (WHO, UNDP, Canada, USA, France, U.K., etc).

Professor Gottlieb with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela

He returned to WHO as a Consultant in WHO Headquarters (1979-1980). During this period, he carried out assignments in South East Asia and the Western Pacific as part of a review of thirty years experience of health manpower development. He then served in the Region of the Americas as PAHO/WHO Representative in Jamaica, covering some northern Caribbean territories.

He returned to Africa after his election to the post of Regional Director.

Professor Monekosso undertook a wide range of international assignments in all the regions of the world for a period of 30 years. In Africa, he participated in the growth of medical education, medical practice and medical research notably in Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania; but also in Niger, Zaire, Uganda, and Zambia. He was also involved in projects in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ethiopia and Congo. He was a member of the Association of Physicians of East Africa and Foundation Secretary of the Association of Physicians of West Africa. He was President of the Association of Medical Schools in Africa. He was foundation Chairman of the AFRO/WHO Advisory Committee for Medical Research.

International activities outside Africa included Foundation Secretary of the World Federation of Neurology (elected in Buenos Aires in 1962), Rockefeller Foundation, Fellow to the USA and Brazil (1965) in Tropical Medicine, International conferences in Japan, Europe, and North Americas, signatory of the convention establishing the World Federation of Medical Education and Chairman of its planning committee. He was a member of a UNESCO Panel on the Equivalence of Qualifications, a member of a special panel of the World Bank (to the McNamara) on Education worldwide, and member of a special panel on the role of the Bank in the health sector.

Professor Monekosso’s career took him from his home in a small African village near Douala, Cameroon, through most of the African countries and in a number of countries in all the regions of the world. He became over the years an internationalist who worked harmoniously with professionals, scientists and politicians from several horizons. His work covered a wide span and he moved easily to and from fundamental biomedical science and technology, through clinical medical practice, to epidemiology, and public health practice. Professionally, he evolved from clinical neurology through medicine to clinical epidemiology.

He published several scientific papers on the epidemiology, clinical features and biochemistry of tropical ataxic syndromes; on several tropical development problems, on community health, primary health care and national health development strategies.

Through his career, Professor Monekosso combined field work with communities, the training of medical students and other health professionals, as well as health clinical, laboratory or epidemiological. In later years, much of his time was devoted to managerial functions.

He took over as Regional Director for Africa on 1st February 1985. He was already familiar with the Office having participated in its reorganization as an Adviser to his predecessor, Dr. Quenum as from 1966. He took an active part in several aspects of the work of WHO/AFRO over a twenty year period and contributed to its growth. It was, therefore, possible for him to successfully reorganize the African Regional Office of WHO within a few months and set the framework in collaboration with experts and ministers of the Region, to chart a new accelerated path to health development in Africa with primary health care as a support to economic development at the district level.

He returned home country in 1995 and was appointed Minister of Public Health from 1997 to 2000.



RSPH AGM and Presentations, RIBA, Portland Place, London.



Professor Monekosso received a number of awards and decorations, notably:

  1. i) Université de Londres, Prix Sanderson Wells en Nutrition, 1951
  2. ii) Fondation Rockefeller, bourse d’études auprès de certaines institutions d’éducation et de recherche médicales aux Etats-Unis et au Brésil, 1965

iii) Docteur en Sciences, Honoris Causa, Université d’Ife, Nigeria, 1976

  1. iv) Chevalier et Officier de l’Ordre de la Valeur du Cameroun; 1966,1976
  2. v) Officier des Palmes Académiques de la République Française, 1974
  3. vi) Le “Katz Memorial Medal” pour les services rendus à l’enseignement médical, 1985

vii)”Personnalité de l’Année” (France), 1986

viii) Mérite de Santee du Niger, 1987

  1. ix) Who’s Who in the World Award 1997
  2. x) Docteur en Sciences, Honoris Causa, Université de Tanzanie, 1989
  3. xi) Commandeur de l’Ordre national de Madagascar, 1989

xii) Officier de l’Ordre du Lion du Sénégal, 1990

xiii) Commandeur de l’Ordre du Lion du Sénégal, 1991

xiv) Doctor of Medicine, Honoris Causa, Walter Sisulu University-South Africa, 2012

  1. xv) AIM Award, College of Medicine, Ibadan- Nigeria, 2012

xvi) Queen Elisabeth II Gold Medal Award, 2012




Cameroonian nationality; 89 years, married.

Languages: English, French and functional Spanish.

Minister of Public Health 1997-2000

WHO Regional Director for Africa; February 1985- 1995

Former Dean University of Yaounde

Former country Representative in Jamaica; Pan America Health Organization/World Health Organization, 1980

Previously Consultant, World Health Organization, 1979/80

Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Valeur, Federal Republic of Cameroon, 1966

Officier de l’Ordre de la Valeur, United Republic of Cameroon, 1975

Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, University of Ife, Nigeria, 1976

Membership of Professional Associations:

Foundation Secretary: Association of Physicians of West Africa, Ibadan, 1962

Member: Association of physicians of East Africa, 1958-60

Foreign Member: German, Dutch and French Societies of Tropical Medicine

Member: Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene



University Education, 1947-53

University of London, Sanderson Wells Prize for Nutrition 1951

Student Demonstrator, Microbiology, 1952

M.B., B.S., London, 1953 M.R.C.S., L.R.CP., 1953


Junior Professional/Academic Posts, 1953-57

House physician and Senior House Officer, Guy’s Hospital

Medical Registrar/Senior Registrar, U.C.H, Ibadan.

M.D. London, 1957, M’R.CP. Ed. 1957, D.T.M.E.H., 1957


Senior Academic/Professional posts, 1957-68

Lecturer in medicine, Makerere College, Uganda

Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor of Medicine University of Ibadan

Associate Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Ibadan

Teaching, Research, Clinical duties

Faculty administration, including organizing community projects, Kasangati (Uganda), Ibarapa (Ibadan), Isheri (Lagos) Major research programme in tropical neuropathies, clinical, laboratory and epidemiological aspects.

Secretary, Commission for Research on Tropical Neurology, World Federation of Neurology Assistant Editor, West African Medical Journal

President, Association of Medical Schools in Africa (1963-66)

Member, Planning Commission of Yaounde Medical School

Elected to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 1966


Managerial Academic/Professional Posts 1969-79

Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University College, Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania), 1968/69

Dean/Director, University Centre for Health Sciences, Yaounde, (Cameroon), 1969/78)

Organization of multi-professional teaching, research and services institutions in Tanzania and Cameroon with medical, nursing, technical and auxiliary students at Muhimbili and CUSS and community health units in rural areas in both countries.

Reorganization of institutions into three fundamental divisions (Biomedical, Clinical and Public Health Sciences) in both Tanzania and Cameroon.

Organization of integrated/coordinated teaching programmes for medical studies with a balanced participation of the three divisions or technical units.

Responsibility for the construction and equipment (in Cameroon) of multi-purpose teaching and research laboratories for students and staff ; as well as of a University Medical Centre modelled on a District Community Hospital geared for teaching, service and research in community medicine.

Responsibility for the design and implementation of field activities including experimental primary health care services in villages, community health surveys, community health research (including, applied biomedical and health services research by staff and students on major health   problems in all the provinces of Cameroon – over 150 theses and dissertations were produced between 1975 and 1978), and the design and implementation of student health team projects in rural areas, as well as special four-month integrated medicine internship in rural district hospitals.

Participation in many World Health Organization and other international activities including Chairmanship of the Regional Advisory Committee for Medical Research.

Awarded the Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by the University of Ife for outstanding biomedical research on the tropical neuropathies and for contributions to medical education (1976).


Professor Gottlieb during Community tour


Staff Member:

Professor of Medicine and Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University College, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, 1968-70 (2 years).

Resigned at the request of Cameroon Government and with agreement of WHO to head a new WHO/UNDP/Cameroon Government Project – University Centre for Health Sciences.


WHO Seminar for Teachers of Public Health, Brazzaville, October, 1969.


Meetings of Deans of Medical Schools, AFRO – 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974.


Meeting of Deans/Heads of Schools and Departments of Public Health, Interregional meeting Manila, 1976.


Planning of University Centre of Health Sciences, Republic of Niger, 1972, 1973.


Research promotion and organization, AFRO:

– OCCGE, Bobo Dioulasso, 1976

-TDRC, Ndola, 1977


African Regional Advisory Committee for Medical Research: 1st meeting RACMR 1 Brazzaville, 1976 2nd meeting RACMR 2 Brazzaville, 1977 3rd meeting RACMR 3 Ndola, 1978.


Global Advisory Committee for Medical Research, Geneva, 1977, 1978.


Regional Committee, AFRO;

As Delegate of Cameroon, 1972, 1976

As Chairman, RACMR, 1977, 1978


World Health Assembly:

As member of Delegation of Cameroon Republic, 1970, 71, 72, 73, 74 (five years).

Consultant WHO/AFRO and USAID (1977, 78, 79)

Organization of three seminar workshops on training, service and research in primary health care in Africa.

Vice Chairman:

WHO Study Group on “The Application of Advances in Neuro-sciences for the Control of Neurological Disorders”, Abidjan, Ivory Coast 1977.


Global ACMR Subcommittee on Nutrition, Geneva, June 1979.


Meeting on National Health Development Network, Geneva, Oct/Nov, 1979.



Division of Strengthening of Health Services on Health Development (HQ, 1979) National Health Development Network.

The role of the first line hospital in the local health services system.


Division of Family Health (HQ)

Health Services Research in Family Health: Methodologies and institutional strengthening (1979) Temporary Adviser:

Division of Health Manpower Development (HQ, 1979)

Review of proposed activities, 7th General Programmes of Work 1984-89.


Division of Health Manpower Development (HMD), 1980, January – June.

Consultant PAHO/WHO:

Washington and Jamaica; preparation of a plan of work for a PAHO/WHO Health Development Team.


Various meetings of WHO/TDR Research Strengthening Group, 1978-1985 and Executive Sub-group of the RSG

PAHO/WHO Representative, Jamaica 1980-1985: Responsible for the coordination of a wide range of technical cooperation programmes for Jamaica, Bahamas, Belize, Cayman, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos.


Organization of African Unity (OAU)

-Representative of Cameroon on Health Committee, 1971/72

– Meeting on Health Planning in African countries, Addis Ababa, August 1977

Dag Hammershold Foundation

Consultant to African Child Health Seminar, Addis Ababa, May/June 1972

Rockefeller Foundation

Travelling Fellowship to some Educational and Medical Research Institutions in the United States and Brazil, 1965

Member of a Rockefeller Foundation Official Mission (Leader: Dr J. Bryant) to the Government of Zaire (November 1972)

Association of African Universities

Survey of Teaching and Research in African Medical Schools in July/August, 1974

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Member of a special commission on higher education (equivalence of degrees) in Africa, 1974/76

International Council for Educational Development ICED), New York

Member of Commission on higher education and social change. Meetings in Yaounde and

New York, 1974-76. Case studies of selected institutions with innovative programmes


World Bank

Special Panel on Education, 1978, appointed by Mr McNamara (meetings in Washington and travel in different regions of the World)

Special Panel on Health, 1979 (meeting in Washington)

Association of Medical Schools in Africa

President, 1963-66 Re-elected 1968-71

Re-elected 1968-71

Annual meetings in many medical centres from 1963-73

East African Council for Medical Research

Annual Conference President 1966 and 1972

World Federation of Neurology

Secretary, International Commission for Research in Tropical Neurology appointed in Buenos Aires 1961, from 1961 to 1966

West African Medical Journal

Honorary Assistant Editor: 1961-1968

World Federation of Medical Education

Member working party and signatory of constitution of the World Federations – as Representative of the Association of Medical Schools in Africa. (Mainz, Germany; Copenhagen, Denmark)



United Kingdom (1953-54)

House appointments (internship and junior resident posts) at Guy’s Hospital, London and associated clinical units.

Uganda (1958-60)

– Lecturer in Clinical Medicine, Makerere College Medical School

– Junior Physician, Mulago Hospital, Kampala

– Research on onchocerciasis – developed “Hetrazan eosinopenia test for onchocerciasis”.

Jamaica (1960)

– Visiting Research Fellow, University College of the West Indies

– Research on the epidemiology of Jamaica Neuropathic syndromes

Nigeria (1954-58, 1960-68)

-Resident, Senior Resident, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, U.C H., Ibadan and University of Ibadan, 1954-58, 1960-63.

– Research on Tropical Neuropathies – epidemiology, biochemistry and electrophysiology

– Professor and Head of the Department of Medicine, University of Lagos College of Medicine, and Physician in Chief, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, 1963-68.

– Research on Tropical Neuropathies – more detailed epidemiological and biochemical studies.

– Research on Endemic diseases and nutrition

– Various clinical studies.

Tanzania (1968/69)

– Professor and Head of Department of Medicine.

– Dean, Faculty of Medicine Main activities:

  1. i) Reorganization of old Dares-Salaam School of Medicine into a three-divisional Faculty Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Public Health Sciences Director/Dean, University Centre for Health Sciences
  2. ii) Creation of an integrated programme of medical studies with emphasis on public

iii) Participation in the organization of field training/research projects in rural Tanzania

Cameroon (1969-79)

Professor of Clinical and Community Medicine Director/Dean University Centre for Health Sciences


1) Physician, Central Hospital, Yaounde, 1970/71

2) Organization of community teaching and research projects in several rural areas of Cameroon, 1972-79

3) Director of Research theses for MD. degrees.

4) Organization of an integrated Health Sciences Centres for training of MD.s and other health team members,

5) Organization of an integrated medical studies programme adapted to local and regional needs

6) Construction and equipment of multipurpose (multidisciplinary student and staff (research) laboratories in UCHS complex (1970/71

7) Construction and equipment of a community hospital on the University Campus for district level health care (emphasis on ambulatory care and linkages with health centres) training of health teams and field/laboratory research (1973/77)

8) Member of the Advisory Council of the National Medical Research Institute, 1974-78

9) Management of multi-donor UCHS Project with financing and staff members supported by UNDP, WHO, FAC, USAID; CIDA, and equipment/consultants by UNICEF, ODM(UK). Responsibility for coordinating the inputs of these various agencies for both technical assistance and capital development. All projects were completed on schedule and national counterparts took over schedules after 7 years.




                               Funeral Program


Thursday 11, January 2018

9 AM: Removal from the Yaoundé General Hospital mortuary

10 AM: Academic Honours at University of Yaounde I

12.30: Departure to Douala

4.30 PM: Traditional rites at Mukanda – Palace of Dika Akwa

5.30 PM: Departure to Buea

7 PM: Laying in state at family residence (GRA)


Friday 12, January 2018

9 AM: Reception by Southwest Doctors at Buea Regional Hospital

11 AM: Church service, Presbyterian Church Buea Station

2.30 PM: Departure to Dibombari

4 PM: Stopover at Bomono Gare

4.30 PM: Reception at ‘Court a Pongo’ by Paramount Chief

5 PM: Convoy leaves Bwanjumba

6 PM: Laying in state at family residence Bwataka

8 PM: Commencement of wake-keeping

10 PM: End of wake-keeping


Saturday 13, January 2018

9 AM: Population assembles at municipal stadium Bwelelo

10 AM: Start of ceremony:

Church service


1 PM: End of ceremonies

   Burial strictly by family members




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