Dr. Jacinto Convit

Public Health Heroes
Dr. Jacinto Convit
Dr. Jacinto Convit

Dr. Jacinto Convit of Venezuela (1913-2014) was a renowned international researcher and scientist in the field of communicable diseases.  

During his important professional career, Dr. Convit worked with a group of researchers at the Biomedical Institute of Venezuela, creating a model vaccine to treat leprosy, a disease much feared in human history. 

In his research work, he managed to isolate the bacillus with the vaccine, contributing to the closure of the isolation centers - leprosariums - in the countries of the region, and guaranteeing a dignified and humane treatment for these patients; This research was the basis for the creation of a vaccine against leishmaniasis. 

His dedication was recognized by receiving the Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research in 1987 for his hard work in the prevention and treatment of leprosy, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis and mycosis, among other tropical diseases in the Region. 

In 1988 his hard work led to him being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine. 

In 2002, during the PAHO centennial celebrations, Dr. Convit received the high distinction of Public Health Hero in Washington, D.C., for his invaluable contributions to health in the hemisphere. 

Dr. Convit held important positions during his professional career, in 1971 he was appointed director of the Collaborating Center for Reference and Research in Histological Detection and Classification of Leprosy for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Venezuela, a position he held until his death . 

Dr. Jacinto Convit died in Caracas on May 12, 2014 at the age of 100.

Link of interest: 

Reflections: Interview with Dr. Jacinto Convit (2012) (in Spanish)