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The first Finnish malariologist, Johan Haartman, and the discussion about malaria in 18th century Turku, Finland

DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-10-43

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Already in the beginning of the 18th century Swedish physicians recommended Peruvian bark as medication and they also emphasized that bleeding or blood-letting a malaria patient was harmful. Although malaria was a common disease in the kingdom, the situation was worst in the SW-part of Finland which consisted of the town of Turku and a large archipelago in the Baltic. The farmers had no opportunity to get modern healthcare until Johan Haartman was appointed district physician in 1754. To improve the situation he wrote a medical handbook intended for both the farmers and for persons of rank.Haartman's work was first published 1759 and he discussed all the different cures and medications. His aim was to recommend the best ones and warn against the harmful. His first choice was Peruvian bark, but he knew that the farmers could not afford it.Haartman was appointed professor in medicine at the Royal Academy of Turku in 1765. The malaria situation in Finland grew worse in the 1770's and Haartman analysed the situation. He found the connection between the warm summers and the spring epidemics next year.In a later thesis, Haartman analysed the late summer/early autumn malaria epidemics in the archipelago. Althouh Haartman did not know the connection between malaria and the vector, he gave astute advice and encouraged the farmers to build their cottages in windy places away from the shallow bays in which the Anopheles females hatched. Haartman died in 1788. After his death malaria research in Turku declined. His medical handbook would not be replaced until 1844.After the Great Northern War (1700-1721), Sweden lost the major part of its Baltic provinces and Karelia in Eastern Finland. The autocracy was replaced by the power of the estates of the realm. The military budget was decreased. More resources were invested in the development of universities, academies and research. Swedish science, with names as Anders Celsius, Carolus Linnaeus and Pehr Wargentin, made the Swedish ac

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