On August 9, 2017, Francisco de Chagas Oliveira Luz died in Brasilia, DF. Born on July 7, 1933, in Caxias, Maranhão, Francisco was a biochemical pharmacist and graduated in the first class of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) in 1958. He completed the specialization course in Medical-Entomological Epidemiology at the Faculty of Public Health of the University of São Paulo, in the Department of Epidemiology, in 1976, coordinated by Professor Oswaldo Forattini and the Extension Course in Prophylaxis and Control of Rural Endemias of the University of Brasília in 1977. He also specialized in public health, in the special public health course of the National School of Public Health of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in 1979.
He worked at the National Malaria Service of the National Department of Rural Endemics, Ministry of Health, from 1959 to 1961. He then worked on the Malaria Eradication Campaign and after on the Superintendence of Public Health Campaign (SUCAM) of the Ministry of Health. At SUCAM he was head of the Central Laboratory from 1978 to 1989. He was also a technical consultant for the Pan American Health Organization and the United Nations Development Program. After his retirement at SUCAM, he accepted the invitation of Prof. Aluízio Prata, head of the Nucleus of Tropical Medicine at the University of Brasília, to be at the Malaria Laboratory of this institution, acting as a volunteer collaborating professor, teaching laboratory practices of endemic diseases for students of the postgraduate course in tropical medicine, NMT / UnB, from 1992 to 2008 and for residents of the Infectious and Parasitic Diseases Clinic of the University Hospital of Brasília. Between 2001 and 2005, he taught parasitology classes for undergraduate students in Medicine, from the School of Health Sciences of the Health Department of the Government of the Federal District.
We have known Francisco for many years, since 1979 and later at the Nucleus of Tropical Medicine of UnB until the last days of his life. Despite being a competent pharmacist-biochemist, a national reference for laboratory diagnosis of endemic diseases, he was extremely humble and cordial, contributing with his work to a large number of dissertations, thesis and other research works. Free from the vanities that pass over time, he never demanded that his name be among the co-authors of the works in which he collaborated intensely and did not even want to be called a doctor, despite being a biochemical pharmacist of higher education. On the other hand, he treated all medical graduates, recent graduates, residents, masters, doctoral students or teachers, as “doctors”. He has always enthusiastically participated in the research because of the immense pleasure he had from scientific research and the simple willingness to help with his experience. In this he was a unique human being, loved and admired by all, and thus a pure scientist moved solely by science and to science. As a laboratory worker at SUCAM, he trained a large number of laboratory technicians throughout Brazil, supervised the regional laboratories of the entity and was considered the most important national reference in the review of laboratory tests under the responsibility of SUCAM. He was extremely willing to cooperate with anyone who asked for his support. We remember that he trained at the Laboratory of the Nucleus of Tropical Medicine, with great dedication, and was among the Brazilian military health professionals on a mission to Haiti, to carry out the diagnosis of malaria, a disease of high incidence in that country.
He participated in a large number of scientific papers published in national and foreign journals, and was the author of the book Manual de Diagnóstico Laboratorial da Malária. Normas e Manuais Técnicos. 1. ed. Brasília: Ministério da Saúde, 20051. He presented many scientific papers at national congresses published in the annals of congresses.
Francisco das Chagas was a member of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine. He received many deserved honors. He was awarded the Manoel Augusto Pirajá da Silva Medal in 2008, during the International Symposium on Schistosomiasis by the Organizing Committee of the Centenary of the discovery and identification of Schistosoma mansoni in Brazil. He was honored by the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine during the XLV Society Congress in 2009. He was also awarded the SUCAM Merit Medal, Ministry of Health, in 1988.
He worked voluntarily until his last days. His death brought a gap in the diagnostic activities of endemic diseases in Brazil, difficult to overcome. He brought to all those who sought him for support, a very great scientific security. There were many friends and admirers among whom we are included. His absence among us will be missed very much and brings us a great longing for a friendly and scientifically enriching fellowship.