Frontiers of Medicine in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1899-1940

By Heather Bell | Go to book overview

8
Conclusion

Embroiled in the detail of medical training programmes and disease control efforts, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the boundaries of colonial medicine in Sudan expanded in some very basic ways between 1899 and 1940. Driven by the ambition of its doctors and by the changing priorities of the colonial state, as discussed in Chapter 2, the medical administration literally and figuratively carved out new spaces in which to operate. In 1899, a tiny medical administration staffed exclusively by military personnel focused on preserving the health of European colonizers in colonial enclaves. By 1940, a much larger medical service manned by civilians accepted responsibility for addressing the medical needs of the Sudanese population throughout the entire country, even if, as we have seen, medical provision continued to be skewed towards particular regions. Initially confined to hastily thrown up hospitals in towns, and to any reasonably accessible place where epidemic disease struck, state medical activity by 1940 was centred in permanent hospitals, a dispensary network, antenatal and child welfare clinics, and a range of more unusual, though in some ways typically colonial, spaces, such as a leprosy settlement, a floating laboratory, and a floating hospital. While colonial doctors burned down some Sudanese homes in the name of disease control, colonial medicine had, in what was arguably its most radical undertaking, ventured peacefully into others through trained midwifery. The scope of medical activity had widened to include not only more effective control of epidemic disease, but also attempts to tackle endemic disease, manage childbirth, and actually start promoting health. Some of these ambitions were made possible by the availability of new medical therapies. In 1899, the colonial doctor seeking prevention and cure for infectious disease had a limited, though recently enlarged, arsenal at his disposal, confined mainly to smallpox and rabies vaccines, quinine, mercury for syphilis, and diphtheria anti-toxin, the full benefits of which were not necessarily available to patients in Sudan because of their high cost, frequent deterioration due to heat, and/or the country's remoteness. For uncurable conditions, purges of calomel and magnesium sulfate, emetics, syrups, and/or hot fomentations were still the standard therapeutic

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Frontiers of Medicine in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1899-1940
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations x
  • Contents xi
  • Abbreviations xii
  • GLOSSARY xiv
  • I- The Boundaries of Colonial Medicine 1
  • 2: Medical Policy and Medical Practitioners 22
  • 3- The Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories and the Organization Of Research 55
  • Conclusion 88
  • Conclusion 124
  • 5- Sleeping Sickness and the Ordering Of the South 127
  • Conclusion 161
  • 6- The International Construction Of Yellow Fever 163
  • Conclusion 195
  • 7- Midwifery Training and the Politics Of Female Circumcision 198
  • Conclusion 226
  • 8- Conclusion 229
  • Bibliography 234
  • Index 255
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