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Dr. Bob McClure: medical missionary

The Story


"There's always a place for prayer in a job like this," says Dr. Bob McClure. He's the lead surgeon at the United Church mission hospital in the Indian railway town of Ratlam, where leprosy, tuberculosis and malnutrition are everyday ills. McClure performs about 1,000 surgeries each year and he has learned to adapt locally available items for expensive surgical tools. In this CBC profile, McClure admits the misery he sees is depressing -- but he's doing something about it.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television Special
Broadcast Date: Sept. 1, 1966
Guests: Stephen Hydrali, Bob McClure
Duration: 20:02

Did You know?


• Dr. Robert McClure was born in 1900 to missionary parents in China. He trained as a physician and surgeon at the University of Toronto and returned to China in 1923 to work as a medical missionary. He served as field director for the International Red Cross after war broke out between China and Japan in 1937.
• McClure's work took him to Gaza in the early 1950s, and in 1954 he became superintendent of the hospital at Ratlam, India.

• In 1968 McClure returned to Canada to take over as moderator of the United Church of Canada. He was the first non-ordained person to hold the post.
• After he stepped down as moderator in 1971, McClure continued to travel the world, practising medicine in Indonesia, Peru, the Caribbean and Zaire. He also worked in an aboriginal community on the coast of British Columbia.

• McClure was awarded the Man of the Year Peace Prize from the Lester B. Pearson Peace Park in 1985. He died in 1991 at age 90.
McClure in India was the second colour program produced by the CBC to be broadcast on the network. It would be another five years before all programming on the CBC was broadcast in colour.


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