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Nkwam, Florence Ejogha (1988) British medical and health policies in West Africa c1920-1960. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis deals with the parts played by the Colonial Office and colonial governments in providing medical and health services in British West Africa. The themes addressed are: the provision of medical and health services; the organization of Colonial medical research; and the recruitment of medical officers. The inter-war period saw the development of a number of medical institutions established in government centres by the various colonial administrations. The provision of health care facilities in the rural areas was the responsibility of local authorities. During world war two, the Colonial Advisory Medical Committee produced for the first time a statement of policy on medicine and health for the Colonial Empire. This emphasised not only the provision of curative facilities but also the provision of preventive health care services. Apart from the provision of medical and health facilities, efforts were also made to stimulate interest in medical research. Medical research in British West Africa before WWII was carried out as part of the routine duties of Colonial Medical Departments. However, the Colonial Medical Research Committee, set up in 1945 by the Colonial Office, was to exert considerable influence on research policy in the region. The committee, which was dominated by the Medical Research Council favoured fundamental research. However, fundamental research was considered not relevant to the immediate needs of colonial peoples. Instead, there was established a medical research organization, with emphasis on applied research and the investigation of the most prevalent diseases in West Africa. Meanwhile, between the wars, the Colonial Office tackled the problem of recruiting medical officers by creating the post of Chief Medical Adviser and by the amalgamation of the colonial medical services (CMS). Upto the outbreak of the war, however, the Office was still unable to meet the personnel requirements for the CMS. This problem was further aggravated with the creation in 1940, of the National Health Service. The end of WWII also saw an increase in international cooperation. United Nations specialised agencies such as the World Health Organization began to take an active interest in the health problems of African peoples.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:00

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