Missionaries and the Politics of Quinine in the Gold Coast (1939-1943)

Document Type : Original Article

Author

M.A. Candidate, Department of History Classics, and Religion; University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Abstract

While there exists a rich history on anti-malarial drugs and quinine, in particular, the attention of scholars has not reflected the nexuses between the Second World War, quinine shortage and missionaries in the Gold Coast. In contemporary discourses on malaria, less information exists on the historical role of quinine; how the Second World War affected the political economy of quinine and how its consequence impacted missionaries in the Gold Coast. The current contribution gleaned data from a compendium of government records, letters, circulars and reports from the Public Records and Archive Administration in Kumase to discuss the relationship and politics of quinine shortage and missionaries on the Gold Coast between 1939 and 1943. Since its introduction into Western medicine, quinine has been an effective remedy for malaria across the world. However, during the Second World War, the Japanese and German occupation of the Islands of Java troubled the political economy of the distribution of quinine. In response, the colonial administration called for the use of alternative remedies such as quinicrine and mepacrine against malaria in the Gold Coast. From the study, it was realized that the politicization of quinine shortage and related questions reduced the status of missionaries to ordinary citizens who were instructed to acquire their medical supplies in the same manner as the general public.

Keywords


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