Walter Davis became Ted Meaney’s successor as Executive Director of the Newfoundland Tuberculosis Association in 1946. Having ‘caught the torch’ from Ted, he is largely responsible for the success of the organization over the next two decades, his motto being “nothing is impossible.”
With the groundwork having been laid by Ted Meaney and, in utilizing his own skills as a former teacher, Walter Davis was instrumental in putting a phenomenal education program in place to combat tuberculosis. By enlisting the cooperation of newspapers, radio, magazines, newsletters, trade-fair organizers, the Newfoundland Teacher’s Association, service clubs, nurses, doctors, and numerous influential citizens, he created a prevention campaign that has been recognized even by the World Health Organization.
In 1944, approximately 80,000 people in Newfoundland were scattered along our isolated coastline in more than 1,000 small communities. Tuberculosis was ‘running rampant’ in those communities and the only way to access them was by boat. With the inspiration of the founders, who said, “we must have an x-ray ship,” Walter Davis was instrumental in purchasing a surplus navy ship from the US Government and converting it to a floating diagnostic center.
Through his educational campaign, supplemented by the diagnostic interventions of the MV Christmas Seal staff, Walter Davis contributed significantly to bringing the mid-century tuberculosis epidemic under control. He has left a legacy second-to-none in the health care annuals of this province.
To learn more about Ted Meaney and the MV Christmas Seal, check out our history.