Giant in SA health, who fought against quackery, dies at 63

Professor Roy Jobson. (Supplied)
Professor Roy Jobson. (Supplied)

South Africa has lost a prominent doctor, activist and scientist, who campaigned against quackery and for better health regulations.

Professor Roy Jobson died at the age of 63 on Friday. He experienced difficulty with breathing and then collapsed to his death.

According to his family, Jobson was diagnosed with pneumonia in 2018 which cleared up after three weeks, however, he was still unable to get enough air into his lungs.

Speaking to News24, his wife, who is also a family doctor and social justice activist, Majorie described Jobson as a "wonderful human being" to his family and children.

"We shared the same vision of trying to make a real difference and to stand up for things we believed in."

Majorie said her husband helped her with some of the social justice projects she was involved in.


"He was a true equal partner"

"He helped me think through these issues, and helped me develop advocacy strategies, so he was a true equal partner," she said.

Jobson specialised in family medicine and clinical pharmacology. Among other things, from 1992 to 1993 he was awarded a Hubert H. Humphrey fellowship to the University of Minnesota.

Majorie said Jobson was also very much involved in developing ethical practices around medicine and health products.

She said Jobson obtained his Masters degree at Medunsa - the first medical school in South Africa to offer a masters programme in family medicine. He then went to the University of the Witwatersrand where he along with Professor Bruce Sparks developed the Masters in family medicine for the university’s medical school.

Majorie said she wanted Jobson remembered for his contribution to family medicine.

She said he was appointed by the former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang to what was then the medicine’s control council. "He was put in charge of clinical trials for antiretrovirals and excelled in his work in that area."

She reiterated that her husband believed in making health science accessible to the average citizen.

"He was very committed and [developed] a programme on how to empower patients to not be intimidated by their healthcare providers."

She explained that this entailed accessing accurate health information and for patients to never step away from a doctor without fully understanding what their condition is.

Jobson also contributed to CAMcheck, which is a website highlighting scams, pseudoscience and voodoo science.

"We studied together … I discovered that he was also concerned about how consumers were treated and when I was unsure of what I wanted to say, I would send it to him for comment and input," said Dr Harris Steinman, editor for CAMcheck.

"I think he is an immense loss to pharmacology, particularly for his principles and his clear thinking," he said.

Jobson’s crematorium service will take place in Rustenburg, North West on Friday.

A memorial will be held on Saturday in Hartbeespoort where family and friends will celebrate his life.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 4185 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
46% - 3884 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 423 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.05
0.0%
GBP/ZAR
19.67
0.0%
EUR/ZAR
17.10
0.0%
AUD/ZAR
11.03
0.0%
JPY/ZAR
0.13
0.0%
Gold
1,831.32
0.0%
Silver
27.45
0.0%
Palladium
2,929.64
0.0%
Platinum
1,256.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
68.28
+0.3%
Top 40
62,573
+1.4%
All Share
68,520
+1.4%
Resource 10
71,474
+2.1%
Industrial 25
86,856
+0.9%
Financial 15
12,711
+1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo