Professor David Cornelius Morley was born in 1923 at Rothwell, near Kettering, U.K. He obtained his bachelor in medicine and bachelor in surgery degrees in 1947, and master and doctorate degrees in medicine in 1955. He lectured at several universities, hospitals and medical centers in the United Kingdom and overseas. After his retirement, he was appointed Emeritus Professor of Tropical Child Health in the Department of Growth and Development at the Institute of Child Health, London University. Morley was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and member of many scientific societies and editorial boards of medical journals in the field of primary child health care.
After serving in medical corps during World War II, and spending some time in Newcastle working with renowned pediatricians, Professor Morley began his real career in child health in Nigeria in the 1950’s. Since then, he dedicated his entire professional life to improving primary health care for children throughout the world, particularly in developing countries. He lived and worked in tropical countries in Africa and Asia, fighting common and debilitating communicable diseases and emphasizing the importance of adequate and balanced nutrition. He developed the “underfive program” designed to provide health care for children of this age group. He also initiated the “child-to-child program,” an innovative project that uses educational material of a non-technical nature to provide health education for school-age children in developing countries so that they can provide care for their younger siblings. One of his famous books Pediatrics Priorities in Developing Countries, first published in 1973, was reprinted several times and translated into several languages, including Arabic. He is the President of the Teaching Aids at Low Cost (TALC) in St. Albans, which helps to provide low-cost textbooks and sponsorship of health workers and students. In short, Professor Morley had cared for the health of poor children, showed that they can be helped, inspired thousands of child health workers, and influenced the international community to put children’s health first. Throughout his career, he was “a driving force for child health worldwide, an idealist who practiced what he preached and a charismatic role model for his disciples.”
Morley published numerous research papers, articles and books. Until his death on 2 June, 2009, he remained actively involved in the promotion of child health through TALC, which he himself established more than 40 years ago. For his distinguished work in the field of primary health care, he was selected as the recipient of the first King Faisal International Prize for Medicine. His outstanding contributions to child health were also recognized by the James Spence Medal from the British Pediatric Association (now the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health) and the Leon Bernard Foundation Prize from the World Health Organization. He was appointed Captain of the British Empire (CBE) by the British Queen in 1988.