Decolonizing International Health: India and Southeast Asia, by S. Amrith

By S. Amrith

Within the center many years of the 20th century, Asia was once on the middle of overseas efforts to create a brand new utopia: a global loose from sickness. situated on the unexplored boundary among overseas background and the heritage of colonial/postcolonial medication, the e-book is a political, highbrow, and social heritage of public health and wellbeing in Asia, from the Nineteen Thirties to the early Sixties. The dialogue takes India as its center concentration, yet highlights the overseas networks connecting advancements in India with the Asian sector and the broader international, from Rangoon to manhattan. Drawing on a various diversity of assets, the publication contributes to debates on nationalism, internationalism and the post-colonial nation.

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Aykroyd with his colleagues at Coonoor, G. Krishnan, R. R. Sundararajan, presented a speculative but detailed explanation for the apparent shift to highly polished rice in the south Indian diet. 53 Contrary to the image of large factories, however, they suggested that ‘it is the spread of the small mill, often worked by a group of 5 individuals or less, which so impressed our correspondents’. 54 Underlying this technological shift were social and economic transformations: chief among them was the development of transport and improvement of roads (‘the ubiquitous motor-bus’, they wrote, ‘has loosened the bonds which attach the villager to his own plot of ground and traditional manner of life’).

Perhaps more importantly, the chapter suggests that the utopian visions sometimes failed to convince, provoking critiques. The final chapter (Chapter 6) examines the decline of disease control in the 1960s. New technologies to treat chronic diseases like tuberculosis required a degree of medical and administrative control that neither the WHO nor national governments possessed; at the same time, the centrepiece malaria eradication campaign fragmented in the face of resistant mosquitoes and absent medical infrastructures.

There is an implicit reference, here, to the widespread resistance to vaccination witnessed in the early years of colonial rule. ‘The sanitary inspector, the anti-mosquito Depression and the Internationalization of Public Health 39 squad, and lastly, the medical officers of health’ followed the vaccinator. 69 The committee thus suggested that if ‘a friendly attitude towards public health is to be induced in rural districts’, then curative medicine needed to feature heavily in the initial approach, as this would ‘enable the population to benefit by, and to appreciate, the advantages of certain forms of treatment.

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