Concept

Ċensu Tabone

Summary
Vincent "Ċensu" Tabone, (tʃɛnsuː; 30 March 1913 – 14 March 2012) was the fourth president of Malta who also served as Minister and Nationalist MP. Vincent Tabone was the son of Niccolò and Elisa Tabone, the youngest of ten children. His paternal grandmother, Giuseppina De Gaetani, had settled in Valletta in the mid-19th century from Riposto, Sicily. His father, Niccolò, was one of the first Maltese doctors to read pathology and surgery in the United Kingdom, and served as a District Medical Officer in various parts of Gozo. Life on Gozo for the Tabone family was relatively quiet and pastoral. They lived in Victoria and spent their summers in Marsalforn. Tabone's childhood was deeply affected by the sudden death of his father in 1922 at the age of 59. Two years later, at the age of 11, he was shipped off to Malta, where he became a boarder at St. Aloysius College, a Jesuit school. He entered the University of Malta in 1930, where he graduated as a pharmacist in 1933 and as a Doctor of Medicine in 1937. During World War II, he served as a Regimental Medical Officer and general duty officer with the Royal Malta Artillery, and later as trainee ophthalmic specialist stationed at the Military Hospital, Mtarfa. In the early days of the War, he narrowly escaped tragedy when a bomb fell at Fort Saint Elmo, demolishing a substantial part of the army barracks to which he had been posted. In 1946, he obtained a diploma in Ophthalmology from the University of Oxford, followed by a diploma in Ophthalmic Medicine and Surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He was a clinical assistant at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. In 1948, Tabone was entrusted with the supervision of a campaign to treat trachoma using sulfonamide tablets and drops. Through his efforts, the disease was virtually eliminated from the Island of Gozo. He helped launch similar campaigns in Taiwan, Indonesia and Iraq under the auspices of the World Health Organization, and subsequently served as a member and consultant of the WHO's International Panel of Trachoma Experts.
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