Stamps a champion of equal rights

Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
Doctor Timothy Stamps has been described by his family as a champion of black emancipation, as he advocated equal treatment and services between blacks and whites.

Dr Stamps, who was Health Advisor to the President and Cabinet and former Minister of Health and Child Care, died on Sunday at Borrowdale Trauma Centre after a lung infection.

He was 81.

In an interview with The Herald yesterday, his son, Talfin, said his father was criticised for his ideology on black people, as he believed that all men were created equal.

“His objective was to embody this principle that all men are created equal and that no one should be separated from or divided against on account of skin colour, ethnic background or religious background,” said Talfin.

“He wanted to serve all men as equals and would take it with a heavy heart if people around him, especially Rhodesians, criticised blacks.

“My dad was a man who revered God as he always took with him his Bible everywhere he went. This is a great loss to our family. We are moved and saddened by his passing. We are missing him already. It is a difficult thing to handle, but earth’s loss is Heavens’ gain.”

Talfin said his father left the UK after becoming a medical doctor at a young age because he did not want to be part of a society that encouraged abortion.

In his spare time, Dr Stamps enjoyed playing a word game called Scrabble, he said.

After paying his condolences to the Stamps family yesterday, Dr David Parirenyatwa said Dr Stamps contributed immensely to the development of the health sector in the country.

“Dr Stamps was not only a medical doctor, but he also trained as a lawyer who was sharp in terms of how he looked at issues in the health sector.

“He was a good man who made significant and strong innovations in the health sector. Remember, he was the director of city health before he became the Minister of Health.”

Dr Stamps is survived by his wife, Cindy, six children and eight grandchildren.

Mourners are gathered at Plot 6 Welston Road, Welston, Goromonzi.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.

Dr Stamps, who was born in Wales, came to Zimbabwe in 1968.

He grew up in England where he became one of the youngest doctors in the United Kingdom at that time.

Before Independence, he worked for the then Salisbury (now Harare) Municipality’s health department, where he rose to become the chief medical officer for the city.

During his stint, he attempted to give blacks access to health facilities, much to the chagrin of the Rhodesian authorities.

After Independence, Dr Stamps served in the Government of Zimbabwe as Minister of Health from 1990 to 2002.

He is credited for playing a pivotal role in championing the fight against HIV and Aids, a role he bravely took up after taking over from Dr Felix Muchemwa in 1990.

Most notably, in 1999 he led an initiative to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.

His efforts, together with the support of Ministry of Health and Child Care officials, saw the creation of the National Aids Council (NAC) in 1999, through an Act of Parliament.

In 2004, Dr Stamps founded the Dr Timothy Stamps Trust for people living with chronic conditions after being touched by the plight of people living with such diseases.

It also helped to ease the burden of non-communicable diseases in the country.

Dr Stamps also advocated for the development of a policy that rehabilitates and treats drug addicts instead of incarcerating them.

SOURCE: The Herald






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