From a Clinical to a Public Health Problem: The Control of Tuberculosis in Jamaica, c. 1918-1982

by Henrice Altink

Jan 1, 2013
Since the publication of Randal Packard's White Plague, Black Labor in 1989 which examined the control of tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa, the focus of the historical scholarship on TB has gradually moved away from Europe and North America. While much work has been done in recent years on the history of TB in Latin America, the control and treatment of the disease in the British Caribbean has thus far been largely neglected. In July 2012, funded by a grant from the University of York's Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders, I undertook a pilot project on TB in the British Caribbean from the early twentieth century until the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s that focused on three parts of the region that differed considerably in terms of size, economy and racial make-up: Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad. I spent a week on each island, visiting their national archives and libraries and also examining papers relating to TB in the Caribbean in the National Archives and the Wellcome Library in London and in the WHO archives in Geneva.
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