Malaria and malariology: the Portuguese experience (1900-1958)
Monica Saavedra (Centre for Global Health Histories (CGHH), University of York)
Paper short abstract:
This paper refers to the Portuguese experience in malariology and malaria control policies both in the colonies and in the mainland, during the first half of the 20th century. This experience will be contextualised in the international trends of malariology and malaria control.
Paper long abstract:
Malariology stands as a meaningful example of the importance of colonial experience in European medical science. Starting from Laveran identification of parasites (Plasmodia protozoa) in the blood as the cause of malaria, malariology developed in two different settings - Europe and European colonies. This paper raises some questions regarding the development of malariology and its outcome on public health policies in Portugal, during the first half of the twentieth century. Portugal was not a centre of meaningful scientific production; moreover, it was in the periphery of the European geo-political scene. However, Portuguese physicians followed attentively the development of malariology, trying to draw political attention to malaria which they had identified as a main public health problem in Portugal. At the same time, Portuguese physicians tried to keep pace with the international strategies towards malaria control. My purpose is to: (1) briefly identify the social, political and cultural conditions behind the conception of malaria as a major public health threat in Portugal, and the related development of malariology; (2) to compare the action towards malaria control in the metropole and in the Portuguese colonies, especially in Africa (3) to rise some questions related to the mutual influence between malaria control experiences in the metropole and in the colonies.
Medical anthropology, Europe and the world