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The Colonial Medical Service in British Africa
Editor: Anna Greenwood

A collection of essays about the Colonial Medical Service of Africa in which a group of distinguished colonial historians illustrate the diversity and active collaborations to be found in the untidy reality of government medical provision. The authors present important case studies in a series of essays covering former British colonial dependencies in Africa, including Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zanzibar. These studies reveal many new insights into the enactments of colonial policy and the ways in which colonial doctors negotiated the day-to-day reality during the height of Imperial rule in Africa. The book provides essential reading for scholars and students of colonial history, medical history and colonial administration.

The chapter considers the civilian world into which the Q.A.s returned at the end of the war and explores the options they faced. It begins with the immediate aftermath of war and the opportunities for interesting and worthwhile work that would only exacerbate the nursing sisters’ difficulties on demobilisation. This is followed by a consideration of the return to Britain and the options open for professional practice. The chapter argues that for some the option of interesting work remained, either in the colonial service or the military. However the main professional opening for returning nurses was the crisis ridden civilian hospital system that wanted and recruited cheap, malleable workers; this was not an attractive choice for demobbed nursing sisters. The chapter argues that despite nursing being a female dominated profession, the ideology that encouraged women to return to the home in the aftermath of war had significant ramifications for demobilised nurses. The social structure precluded married women from working outside the home and funds for postgraduate training available to returning male doctors were not offered to nurses. As the chapter maintains, most nursing sisters married, leaving the profession without their considerable talents and new ways of practicing.

in Negotiating nursing
Open Access (free)
Looking beyond the state

sustain. As well as deconstructing the idea of a unified and unidirectional Colonial Service, grouping these eight essays together in one collection also answers recent demands for more comparative studies in the history of medicine, as opposed to the ‘single-site’ case studies that have hitherto dominated the discipline. Although concentrating only upon British territories in

in Beyond the state
The short history of Indian doctors in the Colonial Medical Service, British East Africa

way Indians were squeezed out of government positions offers valuable insights that can burst the historical myth of a Colonial Service staffed by the ‘thin white line’ famously described by Anthony Kirk-Greene in 1980. 7 Although, to be sure, the British colonial state in Africa principally consisted in its middle and higher echelons of white, elite personnel, in fact

in Beyond the state

Office to oversee and coordinate work in areas such as health and agriculture. A Chief Medical Adviser was appointed in 1926 and an Agricultural Adviser in 1929, and this helped to raise the profile of technical matters in London. In 1934 and 1935 the Colonial Office unified the regional branches of the colonial services that employed staff for agriculture, veterinary medicine, forestry and medicine with the intention of giving better career prospects for officers as they could now move to positions across the whole Colonial Empire. To further raise the prestige of

in Science at the end of empire
Open Access (free)
Contextualising colonial and post-colonial nursing

nursing at the end of the century (according to a writer in Nursing Mirror), see S. Hawkins, Nursing and Women’s Labour in the Nineteenth Century: A Quest for Independence (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010), p. 167. 27 For more on nursing in the Anglo-Boer War see: K. Spires, ‘Nurses in the Boer War’ (PhD thesis, University of the South Bank, 2013); E.  van Heyningen, The Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War:  A  Social History (Cape Town: Jacana, 2013). 28 B. M.  Robertson, Angels in Africa:  A  Memoir of Nursing with the Colonial Service (New York: The Radcliffe Press

in Colonial caring
Nursing and medical records in the Imperial War in Ethiopia (1935–36)

Force had twenty-two field hospitals. In addition, the Colonial Service ran thirty hospitals, each with a bacteriological laboratory and a radiology department. All health services in Ethiopia were coordinated by a General Health Directorate directed by the Colonial Ministry created by the Fascist government; and services were provided by a range of health specialists including, surgeons, physicians, veterinarians, pharmacists and nursing staff. Among the causes of death during the military campaign, only 64 per cent were due to the consequences of war wounds; the

in Colonial caring
The pastoral responses of the Irish churches to emigration

Church clergyman offered the General Assembly news of ‘spiritual destitution’ among Ulster emigrants in Canada which shocked it into action. In 1846 P. L. Millar ‘pressed upon the Assembly the necessity of encouraging her licentiates and students to devote themselves to the religious instruction of that people’.97 Although Millar did not appear to specify how that was to be achieved, and he may, indeed, have simply been making a bid on behalf of his own newly constituted sect for any Ulster missionaries who volunteered for colonial service, an exploratory committee

in Population, providence and empire
Crucial collaboration, hidden conflicts

-effective: the mission concentrated on Blantyre and African patients, the Colonial Service on Zomba and government employees. Colonial medicine in Malawi focused more on men, particularly able-bodied government workers, soldiers and labourers. Missions treated more women, children, elderly patients (cataract operations were a particular strength of mission surgery in the early 1900s) and leprosy patients

in Beyond the state
So what went wrong?

colonies achieved independence and trained nurses locally. They describe three interlocking strands of the Colonial Nursing Service’s work: ‘expanding the colonial service through the work of nurses in government hospitals, providing nursing services for private institutions, and contributing to the development of the so called “native” nursing services’.34 In Australia during the first half of the twentieth century, little attention was given to the possibility (or value) of training Indigenous nurses and midwives. In Britain, however, a committee was established in

in Colonial caring