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Medicine Baobab, Prof. Jato, Falls — Renowned professor emeritus at the University Center for Health Sciences (CUSS) in Yaounde, Johnson Gamngong Jato, has died in the city where he watered the tree of knowledge for several decades.

Professor Johnson Jato:1940-2012

The widely published Prof. Jato, 72, who also holds two patents from his medical discoveries, died on June 26 in Cameroon’s capital city, family sources disclosed. The funeral programme has not yet been published.

A correspondent in Yaounde said the development has triggered widespread mourning in the city, especially within the Anglophone community, where the late academic was not only a household name and role model, but also a hero whose personal commitment to the collective welfare directly and indirectly transformed the lives of scores of people.

Close family members as well as the Wimbum Cultural and Development Association of America (WICUDA-USA) have moved quickly to ensure the celebration of the life of one of Cameroon’s illustrious sons. In this regard a memorial website has been set-up where visitors can both learn more about the life of Prof Jato and post tributes to him.

According to the WICUDA-USA website (, Prof. Jato was born on March 22, 1940. He attended the prestigious Cameroon Protestant College (CPC) Bali, before bagging a degree in Chemistry from the University of Wooster. He did his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in the U.S. and was awarded a Ph.D. in Pharmacology, with specialisation in Pharmaceutics.

Upon his return to Cameroon, he obtained a teaching position at CUSS, where he rose to the rank of professor and occupied several top positions, including that of deputy director. He was involved in many national and international research projects, published dozens of articles in renowned scientific journals, authored and co-authored a number of books, and won several awards. He was equally a member and official of several scientific societies.

In the later part of his academic career, he served as the Vice Chancellor of the Bamenda University of Science and Technology.

The late researcher’s patents include United States Patent No 5,455,251 awarded on October 3, 1995 on the Michellamines alkaloids with anti HIV activity and the AOPI (African Intellectual Property Organisation) patent for the production of high protein feed from cow blood awarded in 1984.

Prof Jato was equally actively involved in broader causes such as biodiversity conservation and the fight against corruption in Yaounde.

A committed Christian, he held leadership positions in the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) in Yaounde. He was equally active in the Wimbum Cultural and Development Association (WICUDA).

The prodigy leaves behind his wife, Dr. Miriam Jato, three children, grand children, two siblings, nephews, nieces and sons and daughters-in-law.

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