Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Ceremony to commemorate 70th anniversary of doctor’s passing

Doctor Alexandre Yersin

HA NOI (VNS)— Khanh Hoa Province organised a solemn flower and incense-offering ceremony yesterday to mark the 70th death anniversary of the Swiss-French doctor Alexandre Yersin.

Yersin was born in Switzerland in 1863. At 20, he started studying medicine and received French citizenship four years later. He arrived in the coastal city of Nha Trang in 1891 and dedicated the rest of his life to his laboratory there until he passed away in 1943.

He founded the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute in 1895.

Apart from being a fully-fledged vaccination and hygiene research institute, the Pasteur Institute also includes a museum dedicated to the life and work of its founding director.

The institute had a profound effect on medical care in Viet Nam during the early years of the twentieth century.


Thanks for the memory: Local authorities, people and tourists will offer flowers and respect in Yersin Park, Nha Trang City. — VNS Photo Dinh Quan

Attendees at the event included representatives from the local authorities, Swiss Embassy in Ha Noi and France-based Yersin Lover Association, as well as the doctor’s relatives and local people.

The ceremony took place at Yersin Bust, inside Yersin Park by the side of Nha Trang Beach, and moved to his grave in Cam Lam District’s Suoi Cat Commune. Many local people and organisations presented flowers there, including 68-year-old Dinh Thi Hien, a resident of Nha Trang City.

“Through reading stories from former generations and articles about the doctor, I came to feel great admiration for this man, who saved the lives of many poor people,” Hien said.

Located more than 1,500m above sea level at Hon Ba Mountain, the grave complex includes a shrine dedicated to the doctor.

Daniel Minsen, 75, a Frenchman who called Yersin grandfather, also came to Hon Ba Mount to commemorate the doctor, accompanied by his wife Evelyne Minsen. He told Tuoi Tre newspaper that he was incredibly moved to witness the affection that Vietnamese people had for Doctor Yersin.


Frenchman releases book to mark doctor’s passing

French writer Patrick Deville released his new book on bubonic plague and cholera at a function to mark the 70th anniversary of the death of Alexandre Yersin at the Institute for Cultural Exchange with France on Thursday.

Deville, 55, studied French and comparative literature at Nantes and worked as a cultural attache in the Persian Gulf. He has travelled extensively in Africa and Latin America, and based several of his books on these travels.

Yersin was a protege of Louis Pasteur and the first to identify the deadly bubonic plague virus and develop a vaccine.

He travelled the world, embraced emerging technologies, and revolutionised agriculture and medicine.

The book, titled Plague and Cholera, has been described as a “brilliant, absorbing, multi-layered novel” about Yersin “but is also a haunting rumination on the difficult birth of the 20th century; science, literature and art; nationalism, colonialism, and war; and the demands of progress and the pursuit of adventure”. — VNS

Yersin is well remembered and respected in Viet Nam. After the country achieved independence, streets named in his honour kept their designation and his tomb was graced by a pagoda where rites are still performed.

The ThaoVan hoa (SportsCulture) newspaper reported that in the country’s history, no other foreigners had been worshipped at so many Vietnamese pagodas.

His house in Nha Trang is now the Yersin Museum, where visitors can learn about his work. He also founded the resort city Da Lat, discovered a plague-causing bacterium and researched agricultural methods and meteorological forecasting, all to the great benefit of the Vietnamese. —VNS

By vivian