Soren Spanner died in hospital in Denmark on the 28th December, I am told by his sons.
Soren was dedicated to help build cold chain systems all over the world and he was a true expert in refrigeration. I was fortunate to meet him in the early 1980s and we remained close, working friends for the next thirty seven years. Many others who worked with him in African and Asian countries will remember his tireless enthusiasm in field work and repair and maintenance training.
Perhaps his greatest contribution to the vaccine cold chain was his discovery that refrigerators and cold-boxes had been so successfully engineered to remain cool even in the highest tropical temperatures that they actually placed the potency of some vaccines at risk of freezing! Soren’s findings and his tests that confirmed the problem, resulted in modifications to equipment and vaccine handling procedures globally.
Soren will not only be remembered by us of the 'EPI Dynasty‘* for his enormous contrbution to the cold chain but also as a warm human being with an infectious giggle and a strong sense of the ridiculous! Our last laugh was in the summer when Soren arrived suddenly and without warning on a motorcycle as big as a ship - in the mdiddle of our garden. During the weekend that followed he installed a solar-powered water pump to irrigate our vegetable garden, drawing from a deep, ancient well. The installation went beautifully but when switched on for the first time there was no water in the well. We laughed until we found beer to celebrate.
Soren Spanner, second from left, in Copenhagen last year with his friends.
Smile in peace, Soren; we shall miss you.
With love, John