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Frontiers of Medicine in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1899–1940$
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Heather Bell

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207498

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207498.001.0001

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Disease, Quarantine, and Racial Categories in the Gezira Irrigation Scheme

Disease, Quarantine, and Racial Categories in the Gezira Irrigation Scheme

(p.90) 4 Disease, Quarantine, and Racial Categories in the Gezira Irrigation Scheme
Frontiers of Medicine in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1899–1940

Heather Bell

Oxford University Press

The Gezira irrigation scheme highlights the complicated relationships between medicine, capital, and the health of labour. The need to protect the Gezira from disease infection dominated inter-war medical policy and medical research. Doctors and political officials alike knew that the opening of a massive irrigation scheme would bring epidemiological change, potentially threatening the ability of tenants and labourers to cultivate cotton. Accordingly, and in conjunction with the Sudan Plantations Syndicate, the Sudan medical service mounted its most ambitious programme of preventive medicine, aimed particularly at the two diseases most closely associated with the presence of stagnant water, malaria and schistosomiasis. This chapter outlines the structure of the Gezira irrigation scheme and the kinds of social transformations that it wrought. It examines debates about the establishment of a quarantine station for Egyptian labourers at Wadi Halfa, the installation of a drainage system to assist with malaria prevention, and the operation of schistosomiasis quarantine stations for Westerners in White Nile province.

Keywords:   Sudan, irrigation, preventive medicine, capital, Gezira, medical policy, medical research, quarantine, malaria, schistosomiasis

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