Chesterman, Clement Clapton

Baptist Missionary Society
Democratic Republic of Congo

Clement Clapton Chesterman, was a Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) medical missionary in the Belgian Congo (Zaire). In 1920 Chesterman, an Englishman, was sent by the BMS to Yakusu, in the upper Congo, the first resident doctor at that station. He supervised the erection of a new hospital and secured government recognition for Yakusu as a center for training medical auxiliaries. Confronted by evidence that up to 30 percent of the population was infected with sleeping sickness, he developed a network of health centers and dispensaries to implement a comprehensive program of preventive medicine using the new drug tryparsamide. His policy of mass chemotherapy was widely adopted in tropical Africa and succeeded in virtually eliminating the disease. Similar methods were later applied to the containment of yaws and leprosy. In 1936 Chesterman succeeded R. Fletcher Moorshead as medical secretary of the BMS. He was knighted by the British crown for his work.

Brian Stanley


Clement C. Chesterman, In the Service of Suffering: Phases of Medical Missionary Enterprise (1940). S. G. Browne et al., eds., Heralds of Health: The Saga of Christian Medical Initiatives (1985); Brian Stanley, The History of the Baptist Missionary Society, 1792-1992 (1992).

This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.