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Malaria In Swaziland: Key Factors And Colonial Response

1670 words - 7 pages

Malaria has been a major health problem in Swaziland for as long as both historical records and the Swazi themselves have recorded. Colonial records illustrate the problem of malaria from a British perspective, which provides interesting insight into the study and response to the disease. Alan William Pim wrote one such document, titled “Financial and economic situation of Swaziland. Report of the commission appointed by the secretary of state for dominion affairs, January, 1932”. As the title suggests, it details the economic atmosphere of Swaziland, which in turn reveals the relationship between political atmosphere, environment, and health in Swaziland. (FIX INTRO ARGUE HOW THIS IS HISTORICALLY RELEVANT)
Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa and is situated between the Republic of South Africa to the west, south and north, and Mozambique to the east. It is divided into four regions well defined from west to east. These regions are distinguished by elevation, climate, soil quality and vegetation. From west to east they are the highveld, middleveld, lowveld, and Lubombo range. The highveld averages 3,500 feet in altitude, the middleveld and Lubombo range about 2,000 feet, and the lowveld 1,000 feet, respectively. (PRIMARY PG. 7) & (BOOTH PG 81) (look up system of measurement) Generally, in years with higher malaria occurrences, the number of cases increases as the altitude decreases.
The link between malaria and its causes has not been clearly defined, yet can largely be inferred based on the information in the colonial reports. Most colonial sources claim that rainfall is solely responsible for and directly correlated to the intensity of a Malaria outbreak in any given year. However, it becomes clear even through the eyes of a colonial representative that the political atmosphere, the organization of labor, land restrictions, and other environmental factors are also if not equally responsible for the spread and intensity of malaria.
From a colonial perspective, high levels of rainfall are responsible for high levels of malaria. This is because high moisture levels are ideal breeding conditions for the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, one of the primary malaria carriers. This mosquito is a highly efficient transmitter and requires relatively small numbers to transmit the disease and is, in fact, the most efficient transmitter of malaria in Africa, if not the world. This is because they prefer the blood of humans to other animals, like cattle. They are also highly susceptible to malaria parasites. So, if an uninfected A. gambiae mosquito feeds from an infected human, they become a carrier and can in turn spread the disease to others. The breeding sites for A. gambiae are typically small temporary pools of fresh water with areas exposed to sunlight. In the case of the Swazi, these areas are multiplied by activities related to cultivation, including breaking up the soil and clearing the forest cover. (PG 25-26 MAKING OF A TROPICAL...

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