Man of an Impossible Mission: Andrija Štampar's Separation of Politics and Healthcare in Yugoslavia and the World Health Organization

by Sara Silverstein

Jan 1, 2013
Andrija Štampar was a remarkably headstrong man who spoke his truth without expecting contradiction. Few could claim to have held their course under the rule of as many authoritarian regimes. His colleagues recorded their frequent acquiescence to his demands with some exasperation and government leaders found themselves pawns in Štampar's visions. Nevertheless, they congregated around him -- his fellow physicians, international technocrats, and even Yugoslavia's communist leader -- all drawn to an enthusiasm so contagious that immediate concerns, or politics, took second place to the great project of public health. After spending the Second World War in imprisonment rather than accept fascist overtures, he emerged in spring 1945 to travel within weeks to Zagreb, Belgrade, and London, single-mindedly rebuilding the health services of Croatia, Yugoslavia, and the United Nations; health services he had helped build over the previous twenty-five years. Tenaciously he retraced his steps, but it was a new world after the war and this obstinate planner had to face the evolution of his own ideas.
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