In Memorium – Dr Bagrey Ngwira

We note with sadness the following news shared by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF).

GAELF is deeply saddened to inform friends and colleagues of the recent passing of Dr Bagrey Ngwira.  

Professor David Molyneux with whom Bagrey completed his PhD says: 

“Bagrey was one of first graduates in the Medicine from the College of Medicine in Malawi, and I first met him during a year he spent at the  London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine undertaking his Master's Degree under the mentorship of Professor Paul Fine around 2000/2001. Bagrey was at the time working for Paul in Karonga as part of the Wellcome Trust supported research project on leprosy and TB. 

Bagrey embarked on his MSc dissertation by examining the prevalence of LF in Northern Malawi where it became clear there was significant transmission, a study later published in the Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology.   

In 2000, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine had just launched its DFID/GSK supported LF Support Centre. One of the priorities was the mapping of LF in Africa defined by a meeting in Ouagadougou in March 2000 attended by several luminaries of NTDs including Mwele Malecela, Johnny Gyapong, Yao Sodahlon, Anders Seim and the late Dominique Kyelem amongst others.

I had visited Malawi earlier given Liverpool's long term relationship with the country, and during a field visit to the Shire valley with Professor Robin Broadhurst, we met a patient who had the classical features of filarial lymphoedema, something Robin despite his long years of experience said he had never seen in the country.  

Following completion of his MSc, Bagrey enrolled at the Liverpool School for a PhD programme where he continued his earlier MSc work with an initial countrywide mapping, which revealed that most districts in Malawi were endemic, a study which became the platform for the national programme and was published in Filaria Journal.

Bagrey was a committed medical scientist, an excellent epidemiologist and brought prestige and respect from his peers and colleagues in all he did. He embarked on several highly effective partnerships on several diseases on his return to Malawi demonstrating a facility for collaboration and partnership through his engaging, warm personality, infectious sense of humour and an almost constant smile. He devoted his professional life to the betterment of Malawians. In the context of the LF community his legacy is surely of a Malawi free of LF verified as a public health problem and together with Togo the only country so far in Africa to be accorded that status. 

It was an absolute pleasure to work with Bagrey.  We send our deepest condolences to his family on their tragic loss."

Many Regards

GAELF Secretariat

Dr. Bagrey