Discipline versus Gentle Persuasion in Colonial Public Health: The Rockefeller Foundation's Intensive Rural Hygiene Work in the Netherlands East Indies, 1925-1940

by Frances Gouda

Jan 1, 2009
The Rockefeller Foundation's International Health Board's offer of medical services to the Dutch East Indies encountered both active and passive resistance from colonial public health authorities in Batavia. Initially, Dutch government physicians objected to what they called the Rockefeller Foundation's naive faith in education, propaganda and gentle persuasion in matters of public hygiene. In 1923, for example, the director of the Department of Public Health in the Dutch East Indies, Dr. J.J. van Lonkhuijzen, ridiculed the Rockefeller Foundation's proposal to help with the eradication of hookworm in Java by dismissing it as naïve and unsound and lacking in both "propriety" and "solidity".
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