Find more content written by:  Michel F. Lechat; Stefaan R. Pattyn
  • Volume 64 , Number 3
  • Page: 340

Jozef A. Cap 1924-1996

Michel F. Lechat; Stefaan R. Pattyn


Dr. Jozef Arthur Cap, 72, died in Belgium on 22 April 1996.

J. A. Cap was born in Nieuwkerken, avillage near the town of St. Niklaas, Belgium. After obtaining his M.D. and D.P.H. degrees from the State University of Ghent in 1948, and his D.T.M. from the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp in 1949, he left with his wife to go to the then Belgian Congo, where he became a public health officer in the Kwango District, an area highly prevalent for leprosy. In 1952 he was placed in charge of leprosy control in the Equator Province, and from 1955 to 1960 he was Director of the National Leprosy Control Programme in the Belgian Congo. From 1960 to 1971 he was associated with the World Health Organization (WHO). He worked successively in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand; then, as leader of the well-known Leprosy Assessment Team, he carried out major epidemiological surveys in Burma (Myanmar), The Philippines, Colombia and Argentina; in 1967-1971 he was senior WHO leprosy adviser in India. In 1971 he became Director of the Leprosy Control Department at ALERT, Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, and from 1978 to 1986 while at the Institut de Leprologie Appliquée in Dakar, he served as technical adviser to the Minister of Public Health of Senegal.

Dr. Cap was the author of a considerable number of reports and state-of-the-art presentations regarding the diagnosis of leprosy, control issues and epidemiological studies. He collaborated with a number of nongovernmental organizations where he was most appreciated for his great experience in leprosy acquired over 40 years on various continents. From 1982 until 1988 he was Chairman of the Medical Commission of the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP). He was also a member of the Belgian Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences.

J. A. Cap was a fine clinician. He approached the patient with great respect and human feelings. He was very able at motivating collaborators in most diverse contexts. It was an enlightening experience to discuss control issues with him, since his ideas were always marked by a great deal of common sense.

After his retirement, Dr. Cap settled with his wife Julie in his native village. He remained interested in what was happening in the field of leprosy to which he had devoted his entire career.

He will be remembered as a man of wisdom by his friends and collaborators.


- Michel F. Lechat
Stefaan R. Pattyn

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