chapter  6
20 Pages

Medical research and control of disease

Kala-azar in British India
WithAchintya Kumar Dutta

This focuses on the growth of medical research related to black fever or kala-azar and the way the government responded to it. At the same time, it delineates the extent to which the work of the researchers was utilized by the colonial government in order to control the disease. The process of colonization made the colonial administration face terrible diseases in India. Kala-azar is an infective disease caused by the protozoan parasite Leishman Donovan body which is transmitted to the human body by certain species of sandflies. The rapid progress of the disease towards the areas close to tea gardens alarmed the government. British investments in tea plantations might be at stake if the garden workers and areas surrounding the gardens were infected by this disease. Sanitary improvements and public health measures had long ago been suggested by Ross and Rogers to control diseases like malaria and kala-azar.