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Alexander MacKenzie (Sandy) Rankin: Australian physician who left his mark on Africa

Krishna Somers
Med J Aust 2013; 198 (1): 55. || doi: 10.5694/mja12.11435
Published online: 21 January 2013

A Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians commemorated in Tanzania

Alexander MacKenzie (Sandy) Rankin left an indelible legacy in Tanzania. Born in Perth in 1929, he graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1952, and developed a lifelong interest in medicine in the developing world early in his career. In the main, his commitment was in Africa. Starting in 1959 as a registrar at University College, Ibadan, Nigeria, he moved to East Africa in 1960 to take up a position as a Lecturer in Medicine at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, for 2 years. Shortly after his arrival in Uganda, he was sent by the Ministry of Health of Uganda to investigate a “laughing epidemic” in a residential school in the south west of the country, an event that became international news. He later described the epidemic as “a mass hysteria”.1

  • Krishna Somers

  • Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, WA.


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