Help Where Needed

A half-century before the Penn-Botswana program to aid in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, another University medical team was dispatched to the Beni-Messous Hospital in Algiers to provide critically needed care after most French physicians, nurses, and other trained personnel left the country in the wake of Algeria’s War of Independence. In this photo, according to an article in the October 1962 Gazette, “Dr. Lewis L. Coriell (far left in picture), is examining and prescribing for an Algerian boy who has congenital syphilis.”

The text describes the team’s success in overcoming rampant infection that had been causing children’s deaths from diarrhea and, along with the shortage of post-operative nursing help, had made “chest surgery almost prohibitive.” Despite some ominous notes—“We were busy the last few nights with emergency operations because of the machine gun fighting that broke out in the Casbah”—the article concludes happily, with the description of a party hosted by the “Pennsylvanians … for their associates of the past month,” featuring American music and dances like the Twist “with which we were all familiar.”

©2007 The Pennsylvania Gazette
Last modified 03/01/07

 

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