“This is an impressive work.… The reader feels comfortable in the hands of a mature and competent expert who has followed the history of blood transfusion for years, and has indeed already contributed important articles on the subject.”
Myron Echenberg, McGill University
“Motivated by the desire to contextualize the relationship between HIV/AIDS and blood transfusion in sub-Saharan Africa, Schneider seeks to historicize the policies and practices of giving and receiving blood in this region…. This book provides a thought-provoking introductory platform that will stimulate further studies.”
“With numerous charts and graphs, images and analysis of recruitment posters, and detailed national case studies (featuring the Belgian Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Senegal), this initial examination of blood transfusion in sub-Saharan Africa over the twentieth century is an important contribution to the history of global health as it intersects with the African past.”
International Journal of African Historical Studies
“The impact of transfusions in colonial Africa on the emergence of AIDS has not been told. Schneider’s book skillfully fills this void with his firsthand investigations of the history of transfusions in Africa. The book provides a new and critical framework for understanding how transfusing blood may have catapulted simian viruses from remote places in Africa to pandemic AIDS status.”
Preston A. Marx, Professor and Chair, Division of Microbiology at Tulane National Primate Research Center
This first extensive study of the practice of blood transfusion in Africa traces the history of one of the most important therapies in modern medicine from the period of colonial rule to independence and the AIDS epidemic. The introduction of transfusion held great promise for improving health, but like most new medical practices, transfusion needed to be adapted to the needs of sub-Saharan Africa, for which there was no analogous treatment in traditional African medicine.
This otherwise beneficent medical procedure also created a “royal road” for microorganisms, and thus played a central part in the emergence of human immune viruses in epidemic form. As with more developed health care systems, blood transfusion practices in sub-Saharan Africa were incapable of detecting the emergence of HIV. As a result, given the wide use of transfusion, it became an important pathway for the initial spread of AIDS. Yet African health officials were not without means to understand and respond to the new danger, thanks to forty years of experience and a framework of appreciating long-standing health risks. The response to this risk, detailed in this book, yields important insight into the history of epidemics and HIV/AIDS.
Drawing on research from colonial-era governments, European Red Cross societies, independent African governments, and directly from health officers themselves, this book is the only historical study of the practice of blood transfusion in Africa.
William H. Schneider is professor emeritus of history and medical humanities at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. He has authored numerous publications on the history of science and medicine, health philanthropy, and global health history. More info →
Save 20% ($27.96)
US and Canada only
Availability and price vary according to vendor.
Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center
Making and Unmaking Public Health in Africa explores how medical professionals and patients, government officials, and ordinary citizens approach questions of public health as they navigate contemporary landscapes of NGOs and transnational projects, faltering state services, and expanding privatization.
Global Health in Africa is a first exploration of selected histories of global health initiatives in Africa. The collection addresses some of the most important interventions in disease control, including mass vaccination, large-scale treatment and/or prophylaxis campaigns, harm reduction efforts, and nutritional and virological research.The chapters in this collection are organized in three sections that evaluate linkages between past, present, and emergent.
Malaria is an infectious disease like no other: it is a dynamic force of nature and Africa’s most deadly and debilitating malady. James C. McCann tells the story of malaria in human, narrative terms and explains the history and ecology of the disease through the science of landscape change. All malaria is local.
The Experiment Must Continue is a beautifully articulated ethnographic history of medical experimentation in East Africa from 1940 through 2014. In it, Melissa Graboyes combines her training in public health and in history to treat her subject with the dual sensitivities of a medical ethicist and a fine historian.
Sign up to be notified when new African Studies titles come out.
We will only use your email address to notify you of new titles in the subject area(s) you follow. We will never share your information with third parties.