The unique role of the Seamen’s Hospital Society (SHS) in the foundation of the formal discipline of tropical (colonial) medicine at its Albert Dock Hospital (ADH) in 1899 is not widely appreciated.
The SHS was founded in 1821 by a group of philanthropists, primarily for the welfare – both physical and spiritual – of the merchant sailor. This Society had the distinction of producing one of the first hospitals to provide medical care without requirement of a governor’s letter of introduction. It was also one of the first hospitals to provide ‘open-air’ treatment for cases of consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis), which was rife in the merchant navy.
For a little more than a decade, starting in 1929, the SHS published an ‘in-house’ journal – the SHS Quarterly Magazine. This book documents many of the articles with a relevance to tropical medicine, a discipline which rapidly spread from the ADH to numerous countries through the globe.
About the author: Professor Gordon Cook, DSc, MD, FRCP is Honorary Life-Governor and Archivist of the Seamen’s Hospital Society.
He also has accumulated vast expertise in both ‘medicine in the Tropics’, having worked in Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Saudi Arabia, and Papua New Guinea (he has occupied Chairs of Medicine in the latter three countries), and also in the formal discipline of tropical medicine at London’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
In recent years he has written extensively on various aspects of the history of disease, much with an infective origin, in relation to the ‘torrid zone’.
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About the Author
Professor Gordon Cook, DSc, MD, FRCP is a physician with a special interest in tropical and infectious diseases, and a medical historian; he was formerly a Medical Specialist, Royal Nigerian Army; Lecturer in Medicine, Makerere University, Uganda; Professor of Medicine, The University of Zambia; Professor of Medicine, Riyadh University, Saudi Arabia; Professor of Medicine, The University of Papua New Guinea; Visiting Professor of Medicine, The Universities of Basrah and Mosul, Iraq; and Visiting Professor, Quatar.