Technical and Scientific Research
Jacinto Convit, the Venezuelan doctor, specialist in parasitic diseases, has dedicated his whole life to developing different lines of research into the prevention and treatment of leprosy, leishmaniasis, oncocerosis and mycosis, among other illnesses of a similar kind.
studies cover various aspects of clinical practice, immunopathology, epidemiology, control and therapeutic treatment of these diseases.
In particular, his
special dedication in recent years to the pathology of leprosy has led to the preparation of a preventative vaccination against the disease.
Born in Caracas in 1913, Dr Convit's teaching career began in 1940, when he began to assist the Chair of Tropical Medicine at the Central University of Venezuela, teaching students about the diagnosis and clinical aspects of leprosy in the Cabo Blanco Leper Colony.
After passing the selection examination for the post of specialist in dermatology at the Vargas Hospital
in Caracas, he
entered the dermatology department headed by Professor Leopoldo Briceño Iragorry, being appointed laboratory director and instructor.
Jacinto Convit was to hold this post until 1950, when he was appointed Head of the Dermatology Clinic.
From 1954 on he worked as an additional teacher and later as an associate lecturer in the dermatology department.
In 1958, when most of the departments and teachers of the Central University moved to the university district, Convit stayed on at the Vargas Hospital as head of department, also in charge of coordinating the medical assistance, teaching and research activities in dermatology.
Under his leadership, the dermatology group in the hospital designed a programme of basic objectives which they would gradually achieve in time: setting up a wide-ranging Dermatology Service, encouraging the creation of a chair of clinical dermatology at the "José María Vargas" School of Medicine, and creating the National Institute of Dermatology in Venezuela.
The first task would be successfully achieved after a period of several years' work.
The progress made in the field of medical attention, teaching and research allowed them to obtain the international recognition of the American Board of Dermatology
, which in 1965 designated the Dermatology Service of Vargas Hospital
as a teaching centre for training doctors in residency aspiring to Board qualification.
Around 1964 and 1965 they also began the first postgraduate courses in Clinical Dermatology and Medical Microbiology, until in 1967, the chair of Clinical Dermatology was established at the "José María Vargas
" School of Medicine.
The rapid development of the teaching and research activities on the one hand, and those of public health on the other, and the growth of all of them in the international field, made it possible to create, in 1972, the National Institute of Dermatology
, which became a University Institute of the Central University
the following year, and later an International Centre of the World Health Organization
It has now become the National Institute of Biomedicine
, and is the centre of intense activity, of research, through its twenty sections, of teaching and of a series of international projects covering the training of personnel in the field of administration for leprosy programmes, laboratory training, rehabilitation, field work and entomological training.
Jacinto Convit is the director of the National Institute of Biomedicine and the Pan-American Centre for Research and Training in Leprosy and Tropical Diseases, as well as titular lecturer and Head of Department at the "José María Vargas" School of Medicine.