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Politics and Health at the WHO Regional Office for South East Asia: The Case of Portuguese India, 1949–61

Posted on 28 June 2017

Monica Saavedra's latest research article is out now in Medical History

CGHH fellow Dr Monica Saavedra's article 'Politics and Health at the WHO Regional Office for South East Asia: The Case of Portuguese India, 1949-61' has just been published in Medical History (61:3, 2017). This article draws from Monica's research on the history of healthcare in Goa between 1920-1990 and is part of Professor Sanjoy Bhattacharya’s Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator-funded project ‘The Local Bases of Global Health: Primary Health Care in South Asia and Beyond, 1945-2010’. This major project forms a detailed study of the global movement for primary health care (PHC), which represented a most ambitious effort to expand health coverage fairly around the world. More details about the project can be found here.

Monica's article analyses how the 1950–61 conflict between Portugal and India over the territories that constituted Portuguese India (Goa, Daman and Diu) informed Portugal’s relations with the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for South East Asia (SEARO). The ‘Goa question’ determined the way international health policies were actually put into place locally and the meaning with which they were invested. Monica's case study reveals the political production of SEARO as a dynamic space for disputes and negotiations between nation-states in decolonising Asia. In this context, health often came second in the face of contrasting nationalistic projects, both colonial and post-colonial.

You can access and download this Open Access Article via Medical History’s web page. 

This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation, which supports scientists and researchers to take on big problems, fuel imaginations, and spark debate.

Medical History is a refereed journal devoted to all aspects of the history of medicine, health and related sciences, with the goal of broadening and deepening the understanding of the field, in the widest sense, by historical studies of the highest quality. It is associated with the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health, the Asian Society for the History of Medicine, and the World Health Organization's Global Health Histories initiative.