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William Sinclair Winship (1927 - )

The Order of the Baobab in

Silver
William Sinclair Winship (1927 - ) Awarded for:
For his excellent contribution to the field of medicine and dedication of his adult life to paediatrics and human genetics.

Profile of William Sinclair Winship

Professor William Sinclair Winship was born on 18 March 1927, in Edinburgh, Scotland. When he was a few months old, his parents moved to Mpwapwa, Tanzania, before settling in Somerset West and Durban where he studied. A dedicated medical specialist and a distinguished scholar, Prof. William Sinclair Winship completed his MBCHB Degree in 1953 and a Master’s Degree in 1962 at the University of Cape Town. Since the completion of his studies, Prof. Winship has dedicated close to 60 years of his life to the care, treatment and protection of infants in South Africa, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal where he is still in active service. 

In 1956, he commenced training as paediatric registrar and tutored the first class of students to qualify from what is today the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. 

In 1962, he established clinics for paediatric cardiology and birth defects at King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban. In 1968, he was appointed principal specialist/senior lecturer in cardiology and established the Paediatric Cardiac Service in KwaZulu-Natal. In the following year he became founder member of the Natal Heart Association. 

In 1971, he was appointed principal paediatrician and head of department at Addington Hospital and a senior lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics at the then University of Natal’s established Genetic Clinic. 

From 1972 to 1992, he was medical specialist on the Board of Management of Durban Child and Family Welfare. He was also chairperson of both the Adoption Committee and the Advisory Committee for Management of Child Abuse and Neglect, as well as convener of the Congress of South African Cardiac Society in Durban. 

Recognised even beyond the borders of South Africa, Prof. Winship served as corresponding member for South Africa of the Association of European Paediatric Cardiologists for 15 years. In 1973, he was the chairperson of the Steering Committee which founded the South African Heart Foundation and was also elected to the Board of Management of the South African National Council for Child and Family Welfare. 

In 1974, Prof. Winship became a founder member of the South African Inherited Disorders Association and was also elected President of the South African National Council for Child and Family Welfare. 

In 1976, he established the first Multidisciplinary Committee to deal with Child Abuse and Neglect in Durban. From 1978 to 1980, he was chairperson of the Natal Paediatric Group and executive member of the Committee of the South African Paediatric Association. He also served on the executive of the Foundation of Southern African Society of Human Genetics in Rustenburg. 

In his commitment to infants, Prof. Winship co-convened the first National Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect in South Africa and proposed the formation of the South African Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect to be affiliated to the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. 

He was also a founder member of an organisation called Training and Resources for Early Education (TREE). Currently the largest Early Childhood Development (ECD) organisation in South Africa, TREE has trained over 20 000 people, mostly from rural areas on a variety of ECD courses, which impacts on an estimated 600 000 young children, particularly those with genetic disorders. He was also a founder of Childline in 1986.

An avid researcher, Prof. Winship has published over 53 articles in national and international medical journals. Most notable among his publications is the 2003 Handbook of Genetic and Congenital Syndromes, published by Oxford University Press. He has also served as examiner for the Certificate in Medical Genetics for several colleges of medicine in South Africa. 

He has received many honours in his long career, embracing paediatrics and human genetics, which include the Excellence in Service Award in 2000 and the Bill Winship SASHG Medal. He was endowed by the Southern African Society of Human Genetics in 2004, in recognition of his contribution to human genetics in South Africa. Another notable award is the College of Paeditrus Award of 2007, for his contribution to South African paediatrics and child care in South Africa. 

Prof. Winship has served the people of South Africa unfailingly for more than 50 years, and is currently involved in both the hospital and university as senior specialist paediatrician and as honorary associate professor in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health of the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine.

We are proud to honour Professor William Sinclair Winship with the Order of the Baobab in Silver for his excellent contribution to the field of medicine and the dedication of his adult life to paediatrics and human genetics.