Professor Hugh Philpott December 17, 2020

This is to inform you that Professor Hugh Philpott died peacefully at his home in Durban yesterday afternoon (16 Dec 2020).

Professor Philpott was appointed in 1974 as the second academic head of the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the then University of Natal. He was globally recognized for the promotion of the graphic recording of labour which assisted in saving lives of mothers and their babies during childbirth (this work was published in BJOG in 1972).  This became known as the “Philpott Partograph” and remains the basis of recording clinical events during the birthing process. He made a huge contribution to obstetrics in South Africa, Zimbabwe and globally with implementation of community midwifery and the use of the partogram, which encouraged safe deliveries at clinics by trained advanced midwives and referral pathways for complicated cases. He was the inspiration behind Community Obstetrics in Durban, SA and internationally, and continued to be active in the training and establishment of protocols for maternal health and wellbeing, way beyond his retirement.  He will be remembered for his foresight for reducing maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity and for decreasing the incidence of vesico-vaginal fistula in KZN. He was an astute academic, and encouraged many others towards academic excellence. He established an exchange programme with Kings College Hospital in London, with most trainees under him exiting the program with brilliance in both FCOG and MRCOG. He was very dedicated to his Christian faith, and was active in many church platforms.

The department of O+G at Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, UKZN has gained a lot from his work and legacy, and wish to pass our condolences to his family and loved ones.  May his soul rest in peace.

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