Healthcare in South Africa 1940-1990

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Anne Digby

17th March 2009; Oxford Brookes University

Race has been called the South African disease, and in this lecture I shall be discussing two aspects of it as it relates to my recent and forthcoming research on the history of medicine in South Africa. After outlining some general points about the distinctive features of the country, I outline my current project on changing access to public and private healthcare in a segregationist and then apartheid society from the 1940s to 1990s.

This focuses successively on: the progressive Gluckman Commission (1942-4); the early health centres that resulted from this reforming impulse; the Valley Trust and the bridge made there between western biomedicine and traditional medicine; and finally the mission hospital exemplified by All Saints Hospital. The third part of the podcast features recent research by Howard Phillips, Harriet Deacon, Kirsten Thomson and I on Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, the site of the world’s first heart transplant in 1967. It selects for discussion the gradual transition the institution made from being a racially segregated hospital to a racially integrated one.

Oxford Brookes University



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