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In search of a ‘magic bullet’ for tuberculosis: South India and beyond, 1955–1965

Amrith, Sunil S. (2004) In search of a ‘magic bullet’ for tuberculosis: South India and beyond, 1955–1965. Social History of Medicine 17 (1), pp. 113-130. ISSN 0951-631X.

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Between 1956 and the mid-1960s, urban south India served as a global ‘laboratory’ for the study of tuberculosis. This article examines the origins and development of two internationally sponsored projects, in Madras (now Chennai) and Bangalore, established to investigate the medical and social implications of introducing anti-tuberculosis drugs in poor urban communities. The article thus provides a case study of the role of biomedical technology in an early international health campaign, examining how changing knowledge and technology re-cast the perceived relationship between disease and poverty. I also aim to situate the history of tuberculosis control within the broader context of the ideas and politics of ‘development’ in the international arena during the 1950s and 1960s. In particular, the article looks at the interaction between a medical discourse involving the individualization of tuberculosis as a health problem, and an economic discourse of ‘cost-effectiveness’ in international public health policy.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): international health, tuberculosis, World Health Organization, post-colonial India, social medicine, development, health policy
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
Depositing User: Sandra Plummer
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2007
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:16

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