The League of Nations Health Organisation 1921-1946
II. The Basis
At the end of its provisional stage, the organization could boast substantial achievements. In the course of a mere two and a half years, it had become active in a list of fields ranging from epidemiology to sleeping sickness in Africa, biological standardization and the organization of international interchanges of medical or sanitary officers. The choice of topics resulted mostly from suggestions of just a few people in the HC.1 A few topics had been put forth by other institutions, most notably opium (by the Opium Commission) but also anthrax (by the ILO) or pub lic health in mandated areas (by the League Mandates Commission). In the process, the LNHO had established more or less friendly contact with other organizations such as the OIHP, ISI, ILO and other League bodies and a close and financially most beneficial working relationship with the Rockefeller Foundation. Building up the work program had entailed decisions of principle that deter mined what direction the LNHO would take. Regarding its concept of health, the early LNHO combined elements of medical and political approaches. Notably those initiatives that addressed specific diseases indicated an understanding of health issues as medical problems. Efforts on some diseases, such as tuberculosis, sleeping sickness and plague, did not go beyond the early stages of establishing or collecting epidemiological data. Malaria was most clearly perceived as a medical is sue, with an early focus on quinine requirements. Serological and biological stan dardization served a medical paradigm in as much as it was helpful...
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