Iori Rogers (1924-2000) was a nurse and qualified case worker who carried out leprosy control work for LEPRA in Malawi and Zambia in the 1960s and 1970s.
Rogers was born in Wales in 1924. After attending grammar school he worked in the mines before turning to nursing. He took two degrees in England, one in Administration and Social Science from the London School of Economics and a second in Applied Social Studies from Leicester University. He was a Member of the British Association of Social Workers and a state registered nurse, and took additional nursing courses in Orthopaedics, Poliomyelitis, and Tropical Diseases.
In 1962 Iori went with International Voluntary Service to Mauritius where he served for 18 months with the Ministry of Labour and Health. He was involved in health visiting thousands of destitute hurricane victims and later took charge of the project to expand health visiting and district nursing services within the island. He rendered outstanding service during his stay in Mauritius and was awarded a special medal by the Mauritius Red Cross for his activities.
In September 1969, after gaining general medical experience in Mauritius, Saudi Arabia and Zambia, Rogers joined the staff of the LEPRA Control Project in Blantyre, Malawi as a Field Officer. In 1970 he was transferred to Kabalenge in Luapula Province, Zambia, and began his work in a house with no electricity and very little else. By 1971 he had extended the work and had been moved to Mansa, where a new flat was provided for him. He confessed that “although the flat is new and modern and has all ‘mod cons’… I think I’d prefer the greenery and peace and quiet at Kabalenge. One was much ‘nearer’ the leprosy work there, and as it will be the centre for Luapula Province one could maintain the links between in and out-patients and keep a better overall picture of the total work.”
In 1972 he continued on the joint project with the Government, but the political situation, especially with regard to Rhodesia, was becoming tense, gradually spreading from Lusaka to the provinces. Conditions became very difficult, with increasing living costs and shortages everywhere. In 1973 he had a very difficult task maintaining leprosy control in the Eastern and Luapula Provinces and, by 1974, he fought to maintain the control projects in his areas in the face of extreme shortages.
After Zambia’s independence in 1974 things appeared to worsen. By 1975 LEPRA had cut off aid to Zambia because the government had not held its part of the bargain. Iori transferred back to Malawi and began work in Chilumba in the north; however, he felt the work was not demanding enough and so transferred to Balaka, where took over the running of the Balaka Leprosy Project in 1977. He was offered a transfer to Likwenu, but he declined, instead retiring from the field in 1981 and returning home to Wales.
After his retirement from LEPRA, he returned to his academic studies, at the University of Wales and Open University, and also worked as an Instructor/Supervisor for Special Needs in Merthyr.
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This entry was created 26 September, 2006.