oa Africa Insight - Erika Sutter

Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



Dr Erika Sutter is called Topisa - the one who stops disease from spreading - by the people of Gazankulu. She certainly earned this name during the 32 years that she spent as a medical missionary in the remote northern Transvaal ""homeland"" of Gazankulu. About 500 000 children have her to thank for saving them from trachoma - a blinding disease caused by poverty. Erika Sutter came to Africa in 1952 from Switzerland, after having graduated in plant physiology. She worked as a laboratory assistant at Elim Hospital for a few years before she was encouraged to study medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand. After her internship, she was sent to Switzerland and the UK by the Evangelical Presbyterian Mission (who had also paid for her medical studies) to specialize in ophthalmology.

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