Remembering Dr. CP Ramachandran (1936-2019)


The Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center (NTD-SC) is profoundly saddened by the loss of Dr. Cherubala Pathayapurayil Ramachandran – known as “CP” – who passed away on January 12, 2019. This loss marks the end of an era, as his professional contributions helped shape the global effort to control and eliminate lymphatic filariasis.

Dr. Ramahandran was a parasitologist who advanced the global understanding of lymphatic filariasis pathology and defined strategies for addressing the disease. Born in Malaysia, CP conducted his graduate studies in parasitology and medical entomology at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. After leading the Research Strengthening Group in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Tropical Disease Research program, CP was appointed Chief of Filariasis Research and Control where he helped envision and lay the groundwork for WHO’s Global Strategy for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (LF).

His achievements have been lauded through many honors and awards, including the first Sandosham Gold Medal from the Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine and the Mary Kingsley Medal from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

CP was active in the neglected tropical disease community up until his death, assuming advisory roles at the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center. He authored an autobiography, published in 2014, entitled “I am. . . because of you.”

“CP’s professional legacy will most readily be associated with his tremendous successes in promoting the control and elimination of LF and the neglected diseases,” said Eric Ottesen, director of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, who followed Dr. Ramachandran in his role as lymphatic filariasis chief at WHO. “He must also be remembered as a consummate educator whose own academic achievements and early work at WHO aggressively strengthened the institutions of the developing world and educated the young scientists, who in turn have become the leaders responsible for the present and future excellence of global health research in the tropics and elsewhere.”

Tributes from Global Health Partners

“Dr Ramachandran will be remembered for his vision of a world free of lymphatic filariasis and for his optimism, commitment and dedication. His memory will live on with WHO colleagues because of his pleasant personality, sharp wit and sense of humour.” - The World Health Organization

"CP’s continued enthusiasm and wise contributions working with countries, particularly those in the WHO Western Pacific region will be greatly missed.” – Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF)

“CP made an enormous impact to filariasis research right from the start with the ground-breaking work at LSTM. . . Even when he was responsible for pushing for the effective control of these diseases at the global level, he did not lose sight of the key role played by fundamental research in improving and adapting these approaches to the benefit of people afflicted with these debilitating diseases. He was also instrumental in advocating how much of an impact these diseases have on the quality of life, as the second leading cause of global disability. His impact across the translational spectrum was inspiring and has directly contributed to the opportunity to eliminate these diseases from vast areas of the tropics.” – Mark Taylor, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM)

Publication date: 
22 January 2019