C2D2 research 1a - Tuberculosis in the colonial and independent British Caribbean

Project: Other projectOther internal award

Project Details

Layman's description

The aim of this project is to assess the possibility of an externally-funded international research network on the role of race and ethnicity in the prevention, control and treatment of Tuberculosis (TB) in the British Caribbean in the decades preceding and following independence, which will operate alongside the investigator’s study of TB in Jamaica. A workshop will be hosted to determine interest in and advocate the possibilities of such a research network to potential UK collaborators. Time will also be spent in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad to scope archival sources on TB, meet with potential collaborators at the University of the West Indies and explore the possibility of conducting oral history.

Key findings

The scoping exercise showed significant differences in the control of TB across the region. For example, while an anti-tuberculosis society was set up in Trinidad in 1908, it took until 1928 before one was established in Jamaica and Barbados only got one in the post-WWII period. In addition, the exercise showed changes over time. Contrary to expectations the control of TB lessened in the years following independence. To explore the reasons behind these differences and changes over time, I will do more research. I have been awarded a Rockefeller archive grant of $2,500 to spent 2 weeks in the archive looking at material relating to the Jamaican Tuberculosis Commission. To share some of preliminary findings I have given 3 conference papers on 1) exploration of attitudes African Jamaican politicians towards TB control between 1918-1938 2) the inability of the Jamaican government to conform to WHO's national TB programme in the 1960s and 1970s and 3) a paper on the problems with sources on TB in the Anglophone Caribbean.

I started liaising with numerous scholars in the Caribbean, Latin America and North America in 2012 who are working on TB with a view to setting up an international research network. Some of these will attend a forthcoming conference at York (18-19 July) sponsored by the British Academy International Mobility and Partnership grant on the theme of Public Health : a past perspective. This conference looks at four case studies, one of which is TB. I have been asked by Chatto and Pickering to write a book proposal for a book that will include papers from all the three conferences sponsored under the British Academy International Mobility and Partnership grant.

I employed one UG student research for 1 week who photographed all relevant sources in the National Archives in London.


Rockefeller Fellowship for archival research November 2012. awarded February 2013 $2,500. Research was carried out in July 2013. I received a British Academy International Mobility and Partnership Grant in July 2013 to organise three conferences on the theme of Public Health in Latin America and the Caribbean. The first will take place in July 2014 and will include two panels on TB. I applied for a White Rose Student Network on the theme of 'governance and development in the colonial and post-colonial world' in February 2014, which focused in particular on health and health-related issues. Unfortunately this application was unsuccessful.

Injecting independence: BCG vaccination in the anglophone Caribbean', to medical History in January 2013. This was finally accepted and will published in October 2014.
Effective start/end date1/03/1230/09/12