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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The 1920s Anti-Yaws Campaigns and Colonial Medical Policy in Kenya
Author:Dawson, Marc H.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic terms:Kenya
Great Britain
health policy
skin diseases
Health and Nutrition
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/219687
Abstract:The 1920s anti-yaws campaigns in Kenya provide an opportunity to explore the biological impact of colonial medicine as well as colonial medical policy. In launching the campaign the medical authorities changed the purpose of the Medical Department from caring mainly for government employees to at least attempting to deliver health care to rural Africans. The government and physicians chose the cheap solution for delivering that care. Rather than raising the living standards of the rural population (prevention), the colonial authorities tried to cure the population of yaws with injections of a drug of uncertain properties. Medically, the campaign had mixed results. The incidence of clinical yaws was greatly reduced, not because the treatment cured the disease, but because it suppressed the symptoms. This symptom-suppressing therapy turned into a long-term problem with increased rates of tertiary yaws in the 1940s and 1950s. The reduction in active cases of yaws and the numbers infected removed the protection which the Kikuyu and others had against venereal syphilis. Notes, ref.