Anti-Malaria campaigns in urban Zanzibar, 1913-1945

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Seminar Date
March 4, 2009
Colonial states in Africa began implementing measures to stop malaria in the late nineteenth century. Malaria had spread widely during the process of colonial conquest and occupation in these countries, accelerated by the extension of the colonial economy, the introduction of transport infrastructures, and urbanization. Colonial states initiated measures to curb malaria mainly in order to safeguard the welfare of the European colonial populations, but fear of the effect the disease could have on the available pool of African labour was another strong motivation for white administrators, settlers and medical officers to combat its spread. This paper examines the colonial government’s responses to malaria in urban Zanzibar between 1913 and 1945. In Zanzibar, like in many British colonies in Africa, the malaria control programmes focused more on sanitary and environmental engineering due to the lack of persistent insecticide until after 1945 with the adoption of DDT. The colonial government in Zanzibar initiated preventive measures which focused on the distribution of medicines and the elimination and killing of malaria mosquitoes. The urban planning programmes and sanitation measures were simultaneously introduced in that period. My main emphasis here is the role played by the Colonial Office (CO) in London in these campaigns.
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