A recent study confirms that Britain used the London School of Tropical Medicine as an institution serving its colonial goals between 1899 and 1960; essentially confirming the use of science and medicine to further the system of colonialism, recognized by many scholars now as a crime.
According to the study by Leuba Hirsch, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, “The London School of Tropical Medicine was established as a colonial institution that benefited and contributed to British colonialism in a variety of ways between 1899 and 1960.”
He pointed out that the school was established by the colonial office of the British Empire, which ran the British colonies, as the funds needed to establish and operate it came from colonial contributions, which were derived from the exploitation of resources and labor in the colonies.
He pointed out that the school played an active role during the two world wars, in protecting British forces from tropical diseases and protecting imperial property.
He added that students and members of the school team traveled and did research on colonial populations throughout the empire. In at least one case, a British doctor deliberately infected Chinese “Hen Lu” with malaria, to test his theory about the role of mosquitoes in transmitting the disease.
He explained that some of the school’s lecturers and staff were also dedicated to ethnic sciences such as eugenics, which promote the improvement of a nation’s genetic quality through selective procreation.
It is noteworthy that the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is a public research university school based in the British capital, London, specialized in the study of community medicine and tropical medicine, and it is one of the university colleges that make up the University of London.
This report was commissioned in 2019 by the LSHTM Senior Leadership Team (now Executive Team) to conduct a time-limited piece of research on the School’s colonial history (1899-1960). LSHTM was set up as a colonial institution and benefitted from and contributed to British colonialism in a variety of ways between 1899 and 1960. It is largely to its role in British colonialism that the LSHTM owes its current power and position as a leader in health research and teaching.
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