International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Dr Frank Davey

    Status Medical Missionary
    Country United Kingdom


    Dr Frank Davey worked as a Methodist Medical Missionary at Uzuakoli, Nigeria, from 1936. In 1937, he undertook a survey in the Ahoada Division and found 500 people with the disease out of a population of 16 000. He set up treatment centres which were manned under strict supervision by semi-trained patients. He started large-scale research in 1948. Davey used SU 1906 which he reported in July 1956 to be effective against leprosy and cases resistant to dapsone. He also trialled and used Etisul. From 1968 to 1973, he worked as a clinical leprologist at the Dichpalli Leprosy Hospital.

    The Nigeria Leprosy Service Research Unit Annual Report 1955 reported, as part of its therapeutic studies on Avlosulfon Soluble:

    This study has been of unusual interest in that it has led to matters of wider significance than the simple assessment of a new sulphone preparation. The substance was stated to undergo rapid hydrolysis in the body to DDS. It has been found that the proportion of DDS as estimated by benzone extraction of blood and urine is not consistent with this statement. Careful studies of DDS itself under comparable conditions yielded considerable evidence that in the body the parent substance itself undergoes complicated physio-chemical changes, with the production in significant amounts of highly soluble compounds, which may include therapeutically active mono-substituted sulphones. It may very well be that the therapeutic activity of DDS is due in part to the production of such compounds. This matter is being studied further.

    Treatment Used/Researched:
    Hydnocarpus oil

    In his 1939 report on the work done at Uzuakoli, Frank Davey reported on the treatment used. He wrote "specific treatment with creasoted hydnocarpus oil is given twice weekly, injections by the intradermal route being given on one occasion, and subcutaneous injections on the other. Dosage is regulated by the response of the patients themselves."

    Research Institute(s) associated with:
    Leprosy Research Institute Unit, Uzuakoli, Eastern Nigeria, Nigeria
    Director of Leprosy Research Institute Unit, Nigeria


    “Clinical Trial of Diphenyl Thiourea Compound SU 1906 (CIBA 15095E) in the Treatment of Leprosy” Leprosy Review 1956.

    “The Treatment of Leprosy with Diphenyl Thiourea Compound SU 1906 (DPT) – A Report on Extended Trials in Nigeria” Leprosy Review 1958.

    Edited with R G CochraneLeprosy in Theory and Practice Bristol : Wright, 1964.


    Uzuakoli   Dr T F Davey was medical superintendent of the Leper Colony and General Hospital at Uzuakoli, Nigeria from 1936 until 1959.
    Victoria Leprosy Hospital (Dichpali / Dichpalli)   Frank Davey was doctor at Dichpalli 1968-1973. (Information supplied by LEPRA)
    TLM International   The TLMI holds biographical information on T F Davey (1960-83).
    The National Archives (United Kingdom)  
    LEPRA (Leprosy Relief Association)  
    Commonwealth and African Studies Collections, Weston Library (Rhodes House Library)  
    SOAS Library Missionary Collections, University of London  

    Go back to previous page.