Monday, 22 April 2024
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As the World is about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Expanded Programme on Immunization, we must  remember and pay tribute to one of its most important actors, our mentor and friend, John Seton Lloyd, who just passed away.

John  was the architect of the vaccine cold chain.

  • In 1976, he started working at the World Health Organization and designed with Ghana Health authorities, the first developing country vaccine cold chain. A model then reproduced by all countries in the World.

  • John convinced several companies to design and manufacturer equipment needed by the EPI: Cold boxes, vaccines carriers, multi-energy refrigerators, ice lined refrigerators solar powered refrigerators, auto disable syringes. All this equipment designed with his inputs was then produced and sold in massive quantities by firms that have probably made fortunes. John never thought of his personal interest. All the equipment that is now used in immunization programmes is formally prequalified by World Health Organization through a procedure  that John also conceived.

  • John Lloyd was a critical contributor  to the design and now widespread use of the Vaccine Vial Monitors a heat sensitive label that is affixed on all vaccines procured by UNICEF and and warns the health worker wether a vaccine vial has been exposed to an amount of heat likely to have degraded it.

  • John Lloyd launched Technet which then became Technet-21.

  • John Lloyd played a critical role in the Kick Polio out of Africa initiative launched in the mid 1990's at the time of the Football African Cup of Nations. 

  • John designed the Immunization Systems Strengthening performance based reward scheme of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance  as well as many of the first tools for countries to apply for support. He was also an instrumental part in the design of a tool called the DataQualityAudit which enabled GAVI to verify the reports  issued by countries.

Without John’s tireless focus on Cold chain and logistics, the backbone of immunization programmes, vaccines would never have be delivered in the right quantities, at the right time, in the right conditions to safely immunize hundreds of millions of children that have been protected from killer diseases since John Lloyd started to work in this field in 1976.

John Lloyd is one of these unsung Heroes of Public Health who was never in the news. He has remained discrete, silent and humble and  never stopped being innovative, creative and committed.

Global Public Health and Immunization have lost a mentor and a friend.

I personnally owe to John to have brought me into WHO and the extraordinary world of EPI and Logistics. I simply owe him my whole carreer.

My thoughts are with Anne, his spouse and Cressie and Zoe his daughters, his grand children and their families.

Thank you John and Goodbye 👋

1 month ago

I join Michel in remembering with deep gratitude the many memorable and productive times with John Lloyd, a close colleague and friend over most of my 35 years at PATH. John became our inspiration and primary motivator in the early eighties before disposable syringes were available, coaxing us first  to modify egg timers for monitoring boiling of reusable syringes, then find affordable steam sterilizers, then design and advance AD syringes (Soloshot), pre-filled syringes (UNiject), Vaccine Vial Monitors and disposable syringe jet injectors. He was aways ahead of the game with product profiles outlining the indispensable performance characteristics for technologies that had yet to emerge but which always came to match with his vision. He was always urging us on and paving the way through the various channels of global health gate-keeping. He was always a delightful companion and a stern advocate of the urgent mission to reach all children with life-saving vaccines. 

I stand witness to the extraordinary impact that John has had on global health and on my journey through the last half century. I am grateful forever. 

1 month ago

Vraiment un soldat et un héro s'en est allé. Va en paix John le monde te reste redevable 

Sincères condoléances à la famille et au monde de la santé publique 

1 month ago

John and I became friends in 1967 when we were both young married architectural students. As with so many other people I also owe my career in EPI to John, when he invited me to undertake a consultancy in Egypt in 1980. He opened up for me 33 years of engrossing and stimulating work across the world. It is so sad that he contracted Parkinson's disease at such a young age.  He bore the infliction with his usual fortitude and kept working. I miss him deeply and send my love to Anne, Cressie and Zoe

1 month ago

I've just learned the sad news that John Lloyd left this realm a few days back. We all knew him and appreciated his brilliance and dedication. I first met him in 1980. He was a true visionary and set the course for EPI. RIP, John.


1 month ago

Dear Antony, I wonder if you have a high-quality version of that great photo of John? We would like to make a tribute to John at a World Health Assembly side-event next month. Or if anyone else can share a good photo of John that would be appreciated.

I do have this one of John receiving an award at the 2015 TechNet Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Looking delighted!

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I quote below a summary of that session, written by Alan Brooks, that was included in the Conference Report.

In closing the 14th TechNet Conference, a special tribute was given to the 4 architects of immunization supply chains – four friends that studies architecture together in the UK and were all drawn to designing the immunization systems in the world. In the 1980s, Andrew Garnett, Anthony Battersby, James Cheyne and John Lloyd all decided to apply their skills in architecture and face up to the challenge of creating a vaccine supply chain in countries where none really existed before, and step up to the challenge of how do you keep vaccines cold in some of the most challenging environments of the world.

Given the theme of the 14th TechNet Conference on Immunization Supply Chains, Alan Brooks and close friends of the 4 architects wanted to take the opportunity to recognize their contributions over the past 30 years, offer them Awards for their achievement on behalf of TechNet and the Gavi Secretariat, and to hear from their views of the next 3 decades ahead. Key individuals that know them well and worked with them closely, each said a few words.

Debbie Kristensen preferred to call them the Fabulous 4 or Fab 4 as she shared memories of each of them and key achievements made by each: John was an embracer and champion of innovation and worked through all the hurdles to get VVM on vaccine. VVMs would not be around if it weren’t for John’s relentless efforts. James was instrumental for introducing Hepatitis B in India. Andrew incredible contributions on VPPAG and Vaccine management, and Anthony wrote a document that help save thimerosal in vaccines at a time when this was at risk. This pivotal document that allowed to build in exceptions that allowed to continue having multi-dose vials of vaccines and continue the open-vial policy.

Modibo Dicko choose to call them the 4 brothers and used key words to describe them: Patience, Dedication, Extreme professionalism, Bright, Going straight to the point, Consistency and Visionary. “These guys, if they are your friends you will go far and have great support. But if they are also temporarily your adversary, you will be strengthened because they will point fingers to your weaknesses in your thinking. And if you can solve those weaknesses, you will come out stronger. So You are always winning by knowing them”. In terms of Visionary, Modibo read the proceeding of the 1999 TechNet that John Lloyd has summarized at the time. These are still relevant and aligned with what was discussed at the 14th TechNet Conference.

Diana Chang-Blanc called them the 4 giants and reflected on the dedication and passion for their worked despite being entirely different characters. For Diana, each evokes a quality of spirit that can be summarized into key words. For Antony it’s “Tenacity” as a person that expresses what they believe in and stand by it. For Andrew it’s “Precision” and “Humility”. Andrew worked relentlessly to make things as perfect as possible but never sought credit for his work, but simply took pride in knowing that his work would be helpful and meaningful. For John it’s “Vision” and “Boldness”. For James it’s “Pragmatism” and “Positivism” no matter how difficult a situation may be.

Robert Steinglass, when reflecting on his days in the field working for WHO, always felt they were “gods and wise men”. John was the “visionary thought leader”. James was “methodical creating great learning materials” and always very methodological and professional and understood how to motivate people and give them learning materials they needed to do a good job. Anthony was the “analytical and intrepid one”. “Anthony is fearless, makes the points that are sometimes very uncomfortable with energy and commitment and integrity. Andrew was “meticulous”.

Joanie Robertson ended the tribute and was speaking on behalf of the award selection committee for the 4 supply chain architects. Joanie described the choice of the award which was a Buddha status. She explained the parallels between the teachings of Buddha and Antony, Andrew, James and John. Buddha was a teacher and everyone that came in contact with the 4 architects would have been impacted by their teachings and knowledge. Buddha practiced kindness and humility which were key attributes of the 4 architects.

1 month ago

I have photos of John.  Let me know a good Email address .

Michael Free

1 month ago

I am so grateful that I had the honor to work with John for years on immunization supply chain topics. He was a brainiac and absolute giant in the world of iSC, but he was completely approachable, warm, and open. He treated everyone with respect--even a newbie like me when I was just beginning my work in the space. I will always remember his open smile and curiosity, the manner with which he listened deeply, shared his thoughts passionately, and always seemed to have a twinkle in his eye. He clearly cared a great deal about this work, and helped instill commitment and a quest for excellence in the people around him. I also delighted in some very good stories from John, he had such a good sense of humor and didn't hesitate to tell a joke on himself. An inspiration and a good friend. I will miss you John, rest in peace.


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