Wednesday 21 October 2020

Vaccinations (Indonesia, 1961)

This is one of a set of eight stamps featuring the word pelita – which translates as “light” or “oil lamp” but which seems to be a commonly used word in Indonesia for projects or businesses (so it’s hard to trace what the specific usage of it was back in 1961).

This stamp would seem to relate to vaccinations – well, I really hope it does. During the 1950s, there was a big global push to eradicate infectious diseases. Programmes related to TB and leprosy are well documented but I had never heard of the programme against a disease called yaws. Yaws was a bacterial infection of the skin, bones and joints common in tropical areas. In Indonesia, mobile teams of lay health workers located the cases, and health professionals treated them. By 1955, these teams were treating over 100,000 yaws cases a month. This helped serve as an exemplar for action against TB and leprosy and, in the 1960s, vaccination campaigns against measles, mumps and rubella.

[Aside: One should always adopt a polite and friendly tone to one’s website visitors, but if you don’t believe in vaccines, you’re an idiot.]

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