Embroiled in the detail of medical training programmes and disease control efforts, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the boundaries of colonial medicine in Sudan expanded in some very basic ways between 1899 and 1940. Driven by the ambition of its doctors and by the changing priorities of the colonial state, the medical administration literally and figuratively carved out new spaces in which to operate. While colonial doctors burned down some Sudanese homes in the name of disease control, colonial medicine had, in what was arguably its most radical undertaking, ventured peacefully into others through trained midwifery. Essential in determining which diseases were addressed and in what way were the ambition and the interests of the doctors themselves: the projects of the Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories, the early search for sleeping sickness cases, and above all the quest for the yellow fever virus were at least partly driven by the intellectual excitement of the doctors involved. The colonial setting helped to blur the boundary between medicine and politics in some cases.
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