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Article
Cape Town Health Policy in the Early Twentieth Century
With widespread poverty, voices were raised in the medical profession requesting 'a new medical order' and preferably a state health system based on the British model. The Department of Health (via the Gluckmann commission) proposed a system based on preventative health services as opposed to expensive hospitals - a surprisingly progressive idea.

Smuts did not accept the proposal for a free national health system. In Cape Town however, a health centre was established at Grassy Park in 1945. There, doctors were to focus on general health rather than illness, and conduct community visits to understand how living conditions affected the health status of families.

Yet most health reform in Cape Town was centered on hospital services. The growth of TB cases prompted a call for more beds and nurses. Children, especially amongst the black population, had very little provision. An outbreak of polio amongst children in 1944 strengthened the call for a children's hospital, leading to the eventual establishment of the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.


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