Our tribute to Dr Joseph Kasonde

We woke this morning in the UK to the very sad news that Dr Kasonde had passed away. Dr Kasonde was the honourable Minister of Health in Zambia from 2011 to 2016. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends. He was a very great man. I’ve been reflecting this morning on our meetings with him over the years and they are making me smile with great affection even at this sad time.

We were very fortunate that his time in office coincided with our work in Zambia which started in late 2011. He was an enthusiastic supporter of our work right from our first meeting. I well recall how excited we were when his office confirmed our first meeting. Jane and I knew we wouldn’t have much of his time, but we were well prepared with samples and notes, and as soon as we got in, we started pitching at 90 miles an hour. “Slow down, slow down,” he said, smiling. “You know, I’m not very clever.” Nothing could have been further from the truth!

In August 2012 he agreed to contribute to the ColaLife documentary. This is what he said about ColaLife:

View on YouTube

Dr Kasonde was a true friend and ally.

In Feb-15 he was the guest of honour at the presentation of our Healthcare Innovation Award. His warmth, energy and enthusiasm is clear from these pictures:


His last official engagement with us was in Nov-15 when he pulled the crowds at the launch of Kit Yamoyo in Shoprite kindly hosted by the British High Commission.

Dr Kasonde at the Shoprite launch

He stayed on long into the evening explaining our work to young journalists (click the play button or the link below, to hear what he said):

Listen on SoundCloud

Dr Kasonde leaves a huge legacy, nationally and internationally, and a small part of that is the fact that Kit Yamoyo, a locally produced diarrhoea treatment, is now available nationwide in Zambia in supermarkets and across the country in over 2,000 small community shops as well as public health clinics in 14 districts. He was with us throughout our  journey.

Thank you Dr Kasonde. We will miss you terribly.