This chapter focuses on drug resistance, the long-term and deleterious consequence of overusing antimalarial and antibacterial medicines. Drug-resistant malaria is representative of a fundamental problem in twentieth-century approaches to treating infectious disease. At the height of European colonization of Africa, insecticides and antimicrobials were seen as cheap solutions to infection and infestation, so colonial medical systems deemed it superfluous to invest in the public health resources that had dealt with these problems in Europe and North America a century before. Within weeks of European health teams' arrival at some Nigerian villages, everyone had received penicillin in an attempt to eliminate yaws. Sulfa drugs were mass distributed in northern West Africa, across the meningitis belt, to ward off meningococcal meningitis, and the antibiotic tetracycline was widely distributed as a cholera panacea in East Africa. Chloroquine, one of the most effective antimalarials of all time, was disseminated everywhere the disease was endemic. Both in and outside Africa, the belief that pharmaceutical innovation was sufficiently robust to overcome the problem delayed efforts to avoid or limit drug resistance. Not until the 1980s did scientists, clinicians, and health policymakers admit that microbes were winning the war against infectious disease.
Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.