Items of possible interest regarding community health and primary health care

1 July, 2021

Dear Friends and Colleagues with an Interest in Community Health and Primary Health Care:

You are receiving this because I have included you in a liststerv knowing of your interest in community health and primary health care. As you probably know, from time to time I send out articles that I have helped to produce as well as some other articles that I think are particularly important.

Now, I am adding a few items that are a bit different.

First of all, I want to share with you the passing of three friends who each in their own way made important contributions to community health and primary health care. I remember each of them with great appreciation for their lives and work.

David Sanders <> died unexpectedly in August 2019 at the age of 74. I got to know him as we served together as founding members on the Advisory Board of the International Institute for Primary Health Care – Ethiopia from 2016 to 2019. He was a great champion of primary health care and community health workers. He was a prolific writer and academic but also a renowned political activist and one of the founders of the People’s Health Movement. He was also the Founding Director of the School of Public Health at the University of Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. Clicking on the link with his name will connect you with all the tributes given following his death. He told me 17 years ago in a casual encounter that my publications were important and he used them in his teaching. That was a great inspiration to me at the time. His students were from all over Africa and I have come to know more recently that many elements of Ethiopia’s PHC system were identical to the ones that we had developed in Bolivia in the 1980s and written about. Whether there is any connection or not I am not sure, but I would like to believe there is one!

Peter Byass <> died unexpectedly in August 2020 at the age of 63. I also got to know him as we served together as founding members on the Advisory Board of the International Institute for Primary Health Care – Ethiopia from 2016 to 2020. One of Peter’s many accomplishments was that he was the doctoral advisor to Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, now Director General of the World Health Organization. Tedros was the father of Ethiopia’s transformed primary health care system during the time that he was minister of health. The link with Peter’s name provides an obituary for him published in the Lancet. Peter focused on measuring and evaluating health systems. He was a champion in guiding bright and committed students from developing countries such as Tedros to excellence in research in a way that enabled them to stay in their own countries and contribute to progress there. He was a practicing Methodist minister as well.

Stan Foster <> died in March 2021 at age 87 after a long illness. He had a renowned career first in smallpox eradication in Nigeria, Bangladesh and Somalia; then working on child survival projects in Africa with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and then as a beloved Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University. He became a strong advocate for community-based primary health care and community empowerment, arising in part from his evaluation of many NGO child survival projects funded by the US Agency for International Development Child Survival and Health Grants Program. Over the years Stan was appreciative of my interests and modest contributions to community health and through him I was able to serve as an Adjunct Professor at Emory for many years.

In January I had the privilege of giving the commencement address for the James P. Grant School of Public Health of BRAC University in Dhaka, Bangladesh. An unabridged version is attached [*see note below]. When delivering it I had to shorten it considerably in order to not exceed my time limit.

In April, I had the opportunity to make a presentation about my career for the University of North Carolina Office of Global Health Education and the Gillings School of Global Public Health. I entitled this: “A Career in Global Health: From a Medical Missionary Surgeon to an Academic Advocating for Stronger Community-Based Primary Health Care.” This is available online at:

Attached is a book that was recently published by a team that I led, entitled The State-of-the art Knowledge on Integration of Community-based Health Workers in Health Systems: A Systematic review of literature reviews, published by the World Health Organization and available at: We finished this in 2017 for the team that was developed WHO guidelines for CHW programs but was only published formally just recently. My colleague Kerry Scott did the heaving lifting for this important project.

I was very pleased to assist some Bangladeshi colleagues led by Eklas Uddin with a most interesting pilot project that has important policy implications for improving the effectiveness of community health workers through strengthened community and local government engagement (attached).

Feel free to share any of this with anyone who might be interested.

Thanks for the chance to share these items with you.

As many of you know, I am in transition to semi-retirement, but it is a pleasure to still be able to contribute to this wonderful field of community health and primary health care.

Warm regards,


Henry B. Perry, MD, PhD, MPH

Senior Associate, Health Systems Program

Department of International Health

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Baltimore, MD, USA 21205 ; 443-797-5202

HIFA profile: Henry Perry is a Senior Scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA. Professional interests: Community health and primary health care.

[*Note from HIFA moderator (Neil PW): Thank you Henry. The original message had a number of attachments but HIFA does not carry attachments. Please contact Henry direct to request specific attachments. Thanks, Neil]