lunes, 31 de marzo de 2008

A beautiful chapter in the history of medicine








This is one of the most beautiful chapters in the history of medicine, but of course, as it was done by a Spanish doctor, one mainly unknown, even by spaniards.
Balmis Expedition was a three year mission to the Americas led by Dr Francisco Javier de Balmis with the aim of giving thousands the smallpox vaccine. He set off from La Coruña on 30 November 1803. It may be considered the first international sanitary expedition in history.
King Charles IV of Spain supported his royal doctor Balmis, since his daughter María Luísa had suffered the illness. The expedition occurred on the Maria Pita ship and carried 22 orphan boys (8 to 10 years old) as successive carriers in "vivo" of the vaccine, Balmis, a deputy surgeon, two assistants, two first-aid practitioners, three nurses, and Isabel López de Gandalia, the rectoress of Casa de Expósitos a La Coruña orphanage.
The course
The mission took the vaccine to the Canary Islands, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, the Philippines and China. The ship carried also scientific instruments and translations of the Historical and Practical Treatise on the Vaccine by Moreau de Sarthe to be distributed to the local vaccine commissions to be founded.
Puerto Rico
The local population was already inoculated with a vaccine carried from the Danish colony Saint Thomas.
Venezuela
The expedition divided at La Guayra.
José Salvany, the deputy surgeon, went toward today's Colombia and the Viceroyalty of Peru (Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia). They took seven years and the toils of the voyage brought death to Salvany (Cochabamba, 1810).
Balmis went to Caracas and later to Havana. The local poet Andrés Bello wrote an ode to Balmis.
Mexico (1805)
In Mexico, Balmis took 25 orphans to maintain the vaccine during the crossing of the Pacific.
Philippines
They received help from the church. Balmis dismissed back to Mexico the gross of the expedition and went further to China.
China
Balmis landed on Macau and went also to Canton.
Return
On his way back to Spain, Balmis convinced the authorities of Saint Helena (1806) to take the vaccine.
The discoverer of the vaccine Edward Jenner himself wrote "I don’t imagine the annals of history furnish an example of philanthropy so noble, so extensive as this.”

(With information from Wikipedia).

If you want to know better the Philippine part, you can read here http://www.doh.gov.ph/sphh/balmis.htm

Further reading about it, http://www.juliaalvarez.com/books/biblio.php


2 comentarios:

Grupo Efefe dijo...

Magazine The Memory of Our People
Rosario, Argentina.
Year IV, Number 40/41
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Summary:
The forms of the state in Argentina, by Ronen Man. School of History. Faculty of Humanities and Arts at the National University of Rosario.
The contentious relationship between the city of Rosario and a belgian holding tramway, by Fernando Cesaretti and Florencia Pagni. School of History. Faculty of Humanities and Arts at the National University of Rosario.
Artistic manifestations of the death in the Middle Ages, by Angela Trinidad Tuttolomondo. School of History. Faculty of Humanities and Arts at the National University of Rosario.
How we conceived the historical facts, 1st part, by Maximiliano Rodriguez. School of History. Faculty of Humanities and Arts at the National University of Rosario.
The last “sapucay”, by Raul María Callegari. School of History. Faculty of Humanities and Arts at the National University of Rosario.
Small tribute to the blood spilled by those who only had left to fight for the honor..., by Adriana Acosta Sosa. Faculty of Law at the National University of Northeast.
Another explanation of the migration reality between Mexico and the United States, by Horacio Yubone. School of Anthropology. Faculty of Humanities and Arts at the National University of Rosario.
Militants of the Revolutionary Peronism, by Roberto Baschetti. School of Sociology. University of Salvador.
Debt, justice, fictions, by Oscar Sbarra Mitre. Faculty of Economics at the University of Buenos Aires.
Review of the book "The companions. Workers left and Peronism" of
Alexander Schneider, by Facundo Cersósimo. Department of History. Faculty of Arts at the University of Buenos Aires.

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megha dijo...

well this is really nice chapter


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