Medical Business at the Close of the Colonial Era


Single Panel


Session 10
Fri 14:00-15:30 Room 0.18



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During the early 20th century, great advances were made in medicine. Some of these advances were based on the availability of tropical products, like the bark of the cinchona tree as a source of quinine for malaria treatment. Hospitals and medical expertise expanded greatly everywhere in Southeast Asia during this period, both based on local need and experience, and global knowledge. Local medical knowledge and practices often continued in Southeast Asia, such as the use of Indonesian jamu, and sometimes were modernized with new production and marketing techniques. New medicines and chemicals developed or produced by large companies overseas like IG Farben dramatically altered the public health landscape. While WWII was a dramatic political break, as was the independence of new states, the impact on public health is potentially a separate issue. What is clear is that whether on a small scale or on a global level, business activity was a major part of medicine in Southeast Asia.

This panel asks presenters to prepare a research paper on a subject of their choice which illustrates some element of business involvement in this shifting health-scape in Southeast Asia immediately before WWII, during the war, or in the immediate postwar period. Additionally, presenters will be asked to consider the proposition that the end of the colonial era and World War II reduced local participation and innovation in the health sector, relating it to their own research topics.