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Title:Britain and the civilizing mission in Nigeria: revisiting anti-malaria policy in Lagos metropolis during the colonial era, 1861-1960
Author:Alao, Olatunji E.
Periodical:Lagos Historical Review (ISSN 1596-5031)
Geographic term:Nigeria
colonial administration
urban areas
health care
preventive medicine
traditional medicine
Abstract:Malaria, probably the oldest and most endemic human disease, has also received the greatest attention of man, with Africa ever remaining the most vulnerable. The etiology of malaria among the indigenous Yoruba of Lagos before the advent of Western civilization was ascribed to physiological factors; malaria was perceived as 'Blackman's disease'. However, with the advent of European influence, this belief system changed from that of an African to a global disease. Lagos under the British colonial administration between 1861 and 1960, witnessed unprecedented attempts to stem the malaria scourge in the city. By 1960 when Nigeria attained independence, the anti-malaria campaign, though significant, was sectional. The impact of the campaign was felt only in the highbrow areas, essentially at Ikoyi, the seat of power and official quarters of the British colonialists and the European settlers' communities, while the larger part of the city was still ravaged by the disease. Using cultural and modernization theories, this study adopts a historical and descriptive analysis to explain why the effort of the colonial government, though remarkable, failed to achieve the goal of a malaria-free world of the World Health Organization. Nonetheless, the study concludes that the effort of the British colonial government at this period laid a solid foundation for a virile health-care sector for Nigeria and brightened the prospect for a malaria-free Lagos metropolis. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]