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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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Sleeping Sickness and the Ordering of the South

Sleeping Sickness and the Ordering of the South

Chapter:
(p.127) 5 Sleeping Sickness and the Ordering of the South
Source:
Frontiers of Medicine in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1899–1940
Author(s):

Heather Bell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207498.003.0005

This chapter looks at disease control in a part of Sudan that was arguably the Gezira's polar opposite. Located at the heart of the country, the Gezira was an environment ordered, although never completely, by colonialism and capitalism. Sleeping sickness appeared on a physical frontier. The tsetse fly that transmitted the disease was confined to an economically insignificant and politically unstable region that was extremely remote from Khartoum, where political officials were either serving and where military doctors provided civil medical services until well into the inter-war period. This chapter argues that political, economic, geographical, and epidemiological factors were crucial in shaping disease control efforts in Sudan. Mapping — of tsetse flies, rivers, villages, and geographical landmarks — was the crucial preliminary to disease control, and provided intelligence about little known territory. This chapter progresses from early research expeditions, through the imposition of strict measures to eradicate the epidemics, to the eventual embrace of tsetse fly control in the late 1930s. It shows that sleeping sickness itself had a high mortality rate.

Keywords:   Sudan, Gezira, disease control, colonialism, sleeping sickness, tsetse fly, military doctors, medical services, epidemics, mortality

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