Dr. Giglioli {1897- 1975} and the fight against malaria in British Guiana

Dr. Giglioli {1897- 1975} and the fight against malaria in British Guiana

By Dmitri Allicock

Dr. George Giglioli

Dr. George Giglioli

Guyana’s development was seriously hampered by the prevalence of numerous tropical diseases, among which malaria was the worst. The Italian physician, Dr. George Giglioli, – The Demerara Doctor -[ see PAHO publication here], was in great part responsible for fighting this disease for more than four decades and drastically reducing its effects on the population.

Born in 1897 in Pisa, Italy, to an Italian father and an English mother, George Giglioli grew up speaking both parents’ languages, as well as French. In 1915, during his last year of high school in his hometown of Pisa, Italy, he was encouraged to study medicine by a physician friend of his father.

During his first year of medical training at the University of Pisa, World War I had already started, and he was called up for military duty in 1916. Shortly after, his squad was captured and he was imprisoned in an Austrian prison camp for the remaining 18 months of the war. He used his period of imprisonment to read all the medical textbooks he could find, and assisted at the prison hospital in the treatment of other prisoners. When the war ended, Giglioli returned to Italy and immediately resumed his studies. Through great determination, he was able to catch up on studies he had missed during the past two academic years. He wrote his final examinations and received his medical degree in July 1921.

Read more: Dr. Giglioli {1897- 1975} and the fight against malaria in British Guiana

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  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 04/27/2013 at 3:49 pm

    Dr. George Giglioli, a man who made a difference.

  • Lynette Andrews Baker  On 05/01/2013 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing this very interesting historical period of Guyana’s history.

  • Dmitri Allicock  On 05/02/2013 at 8:23 pm

    Thank you Rosaliene and Lynette.

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 05/03/2013 at 12:05 pm

    The battle against Malaria is a universal battle and those who experience this disease in the equatorial regions are paying the price with a very high mortality rate in all countries with malaria. The fight to find a vaccine is still very distant and because the scientists have a battle the disease is endemic to Africa, Latin America, Caribbean and elsewhere. The life cycle of this Malaria parasite in the blood creates Cerebral Malaria, Hepatic Malaria, Splenic Malaria and therefore it s life cycle in different organs are making it difficult for the Falciparum, Ovale and other types of the Malaria parasite to be successfully vaccinated. This is the challenge of trying to eradicate this mosquito borne disease from countries. This disease was confined to the hinterlands 25 years ago but today it has reached the coastal regions and the authorities are having a battle to curtail Coastal Malaria. We recognize the efforts of all those who are engaged in the battle to fight and eradicate Malaria including the Italian Physician Dr Giglioli.

  • francis jackson  On 05/05/2013 at 1:32 pm

    Dmitri Allicock – Is Dr. Giglioli up for a posthumous award from the Guyana Government and/or his medical findings written in stone somewhere around Guyana? he was a ‘god send’ to our shores. He is certainly a history maker and someone we should know and read about.. Others should pick up where he has left off. Malaria is what partially killed my late brother who was a geologist.

    It was just the other day in a phone conversation Dr. Giglioli’s name came up about your article. I told the individual that I will find the time to read your artice, I just did! Thank you Cyril for making space for this pertinent article, I learnt something. Knowledge is power!

    • Dmitri Allicock  On 05/06/2013 at 12:49 am

      Thank you Francis and I was sorry to hear about your brother. I am not aware of any award but I agree with you. wholeheartedly. His son is honored in the Cayman Islands and remembered well.

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