Oswald Siung (18th Aug 1915- 28th Apr 1981)

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Oswald Siung was born on August 18th, 1915 in Belmont, Trinidad. He attended Queen’s Royal College and graduated in 1935. He studied medicine in Scotland, graduating from the University of Edinburgh with both his Bachelor in Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) in 1941, and a Diploma in Public Health (DPH) in 1943.

During his time in England, Dr Siung was a casualty house surgeon at the Royal Halifax Infirmary, a general practitioner, an Assistant Medical Officer of Health for Whitehaven, and a bacteriologist at King’s College, Oxford. At the age of 31, he became the first non-white Medical Officer of Health for Wallsend, an event that caused quite a stir in England at the time. He introduced standards of quality for ice-cream making and set up a trading guild for food providers to guard public interests. Under his direction, the Borough of Wallsend sponsored a plan to reduce pollution in the River Tyne, which was later adopted by other boroughs.

Dr Siung spent the next two years as the Medical Officer for Health in Berbice County, Guyana. He left for Trinidad in 1952, where he became the County Medical Officer for Health for Caroni and a bacteriologist at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, specialising in malaria. By 1967, his efforts had been instrumental in eradicating hook-worm infections in Caroni and malaria in Trinidad and Tobago. He was then promoted to Principal Medical Officer of Health, specialising in preventative medicine, and he remained in this position until his retirement in 1973.

In 1974, Dr Siung received the Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold) for his contribution to public health in Trinidad and Tobago. He served as the Medical Officer for Health of the Port-of-Spain City Corporation from 1975 until April 28th, 1981 when he passed away.