International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Prof Dr Karl Friedrich Schaller

    Status Physician
    Country Germany


    Prof Dr Karl Friedrich Schaller was born in 1914 in Lüderitzbucht, a former German colony in the south west of Africa (present day Namibia). He was educated in Germany and studied medicine at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin from 1933 to 1938. He spent a further year studying tropical medicine at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland as an exchange student, and received his licence to practice in Berlin in September 1939.

    For the next 6 years he served in the German armed forces as doctor and medical officer. After the war he worked as a doctor in the Lower Saxony public health service from 1945 to 1952. During this time he received a public health officer diploma from the Academy for State Medicine in Hamburg and specialised in dermatology.

    From 1952 to 1964 Schaller was a Member of the Medical Advisory Board for the Ministry of Public Health in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. Alongside this he held a number of medical posts:

    • Director of Addis Abeba Public Health Department (1952-1956),
    • Director of the Princess Zenebework Leprosy Hospital (1954-1964),
    • Advisor for Leprosy and Dermatology to the Ethiopian Ministry of Public Health (1954 -1964).
    • Guest lecturer at the Health College at Gondar for Dermatology and Leprosy (1956-1964).
    • Director of the medical consultant group GAWI (German aid for developing countries) for the Ethiopian Department of Health (1960-1963).

    In 1961 he was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit (1st class).

    In 1964 he returned to his native Germany to take up the post of Director of the Department of Dermatology at the German Federal Armed Forces Hospital in Hamburg-Wandsbeck. He also acted as a Consultant for the Federal Armed Forces on tropical medical issues, and lectured at the University Skin Hospital and the Institute for Tropical Skin Diseases in Hamburg. He gained a further postdoctoral qualification from the University of Hamburg in 1966 and, in 1971, became both a Professor at the University, and Director of the Ernst Rodenwaldt Institute of the German Federal Armed Forces in Koblenz.

    In 1975 he moved again, to Lomé, Togo, where he was both Professor of dermatology at CHU and Medical director of leprosy services for the Ministry of Health. He retained both posts until 1980.

    Between 1970 and 1990, Schaller carried out Consultantcy activities for the WHO in Yemen, Tunisia, Laos and Somalia; for GAWI in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Togo and Ethiopia; and for DAHW (German aid for leprosy and tuberculosis) in Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda and Togo. He has also worked for the Humboldt foundation and the Goethe institute in Togo, Ghana and Ethiopia.

    Schaller has been awarded honorary memberships of a number of international medical societies, and was made Honorary vice president of the International Leprosy Association in 1993.

    This entry was created 25 September, 2006.


    • Report of the First National Leprosy Conference of Ethiopia. Addis Abeba, 1957.
    • Report of the Second National Leprosy Conference of Ethiopia. Addis Abeba, 1962.
    • "Lepra", in O Gsell und W Mohr (eds), Infektionskrankheiten. Berlin, SpringerVerlag, c.1968, pp.886-932.
    • "Lepra" in W Mohr; H-H Schumacher, F Weyer, (eds) Lehrbuch der Tropenkrankheiten. Stuttgart, Georg Thieme Verlag, 1975.
    • "Leprosy in Ethiopia", Report of the First National Leprosy Conference of Ethiopia. Addis Abeba, 1957.
    • "Diagnosis of Leprosy", Report of the First National Leprosy Conference of Ethiopia. Addis Abeba, 1957.
    • "Notification of Leprosy Cases", Report of the First National Leprosy Conference of Ethiopia. Addis Abeba, 1957.
    • "Leprosy Regulation in Ethiopia", Report of the First National Leprosy Conference of Ethiopia. Addis Abeba, 1957.
    • Serié, C and Schaller KF. "L'Electrophorèse et la Lèpre", Bull Soc Pathol Exot Filiales, 50.1 (1957):17-21.
    • Schaller, KF and.Serié, C. "Oxyprocain - Penicillin in der Lepratherapie", [Hydroxyprocaine penicillin therapy of leprosy], Z Haut Geschlechtskr., 25.12 (1958): 340-6. German.
    • "Zur Epidemiolgie der Lepra in Athiopien", Z. Tropenmed. Parasit. 10 (1959): 79-94.
    • Balzer, RJ, Destombes, P, Schaller, KF, Serié, C. "Leishmaniose cutanée pseudolepromatosa en Ethiopie" [Pseudolepromatous cutaneous leishmaniasis in Ethiopia.], Bull Soc Path Exot Filiales, 53 (1960): 293-8.
    • "Leprosy Control in East and West Africa", Rep. Sec. Nat. Lepr. Conf. of Eth. Addis Abeba, 1961.
    • "Leprosy in Ethiopia", Rep. Sec. Nat. Lepr. Conf. of Eth. Addis Abeba, 1961.
    • "Ditophal in the Treatment of Leprosy", Leprosy Review, 33 (Jan, 1962): 52-61.
    • [Epidemiology in the course of time. Leprosy and its control], Z Haut Geschlechtskr. 33 (1962):166-70. German.
    • "The Use Of Triamcinolone In The Treatment Of Severe Lepra Reactions", Leprosy Review, 34 (1963):139-42.
    • Schaller, KF and Dobrovics, C. "Eye Changes and Sight Defects in Leprosy Patients", Eth Med J, 1.3 (1963).
    • Schaller, KF and.Serié, C. "Leishmaniasis cutanea 'pseudolepromatosa' bei hautkranken Patienten in Athiopien" ["Pseudolepromatous" Cutaneous Leishmaniasis], Z Haut Geschlechtskr, 35 (1963): 310-4. German.
    • Mayer, H and Schaller, KF. "Der Treponema Fluorezentest und die Standardtests für Syphilis im Hinblick auf biologisch falsche Reaktionen und die Lepra" [The Treponema Fluorescence Test On Standard Syphilis Tests In Relation To Biologically False Reactions And Leprosy], Hautarzt, 15 (1964): 604-7. German.
    • [Leprosy and its Control] Z Haut Geschlechtskr, 38 (1965): 16-31 & 33-45. German.
    • "Zur Therapie der Lepra", Fortschr Med, 85.16 (1967).
    • "Die Geographische Verbreitung der Lepra in Entwicklungsländern" [Geographical Distribution of Leprosy in Developing Countries], Z Tropenmed Parasitol, 20.1 (1969): 10-20. German.
    • “Integration of Leprosy Control into the Health Centre Scheme”, Leprosy Review, 40.4 (1969): 243-8.
    • “Differential Diagnosis of Leprosy”, Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis, 39.2 (1971): 447-55.
    • “Die Lepra in Äthiopien” [Leprosy in Ethiopia] Z Tropenmed Parasitol, 23.1 (1972): 98-109. German.
    • "Schulreihenuntersuchungen in der Leprabekämpfung", Castellania, 1.3 (1973).
    • "Hundert Jahre Mycobacterium Leprae", Castellania, 1.3 (1973).
    • "Ist die Lepra eine Infektionskrankheit?", Öster Ärzteztg, 35.10 (1980).
    • Trojan HJ, Schaller KF, Merschmann W. [Eye involvement in leprosy. A study in Togo, West Africa], Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd, 185.4 (1984): 235-42. German.

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