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Colonial Medical Care in North IndiaGender, State, and Society, c. 1830-1920$
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Samiksha Sehrawat

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198096603

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198096603.001.0001

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Popularity of Eye Surgery and Problems of Colonial Hospital Finance in Delhi

Popularity of Eye Surgery and Problems of Colonial Hospital Finance in Delhi

Chapter:
(p.66) Chapter Three Popularity of Eye Surgery and Problems of Colonial Hospital Finance in Delhi
Source:
Colonial Medical Care in North India
Author(s):

Samiksha Sehrawat

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198096603.003.0003

This chapter outlines the development of surgical specialization in colonial India, which received exceptional state support. The immense popularity for ophthalmic surgery among rural patients led to seasonal spurts in patient numbers linked with the agricultural calendar, with patients converging at important urban centres with surgical expertise. Using a regional case study of the Eye Ward in Delhi, it traces the challenges of maintaining specialist medical facilities which were funded by local taxation but were being used by patients from beyond municipal limits. The failure of medical philanthropy and hospital fees to raise sufficient funds led to an increasing reliance upon municipal resources and grants from the government. Stringent financial control by the centre over provincial expenditure restricted provision of medical care at the local level. Demands for reducing government expenditure after the First World War cut central funding for specialist facilities in Delhi, underlining the state’s reluctance to be associated with medical care provision.

Keywords:   medical specialization, ophthalmic surgery, rural, patient, Delhi, cataract surgery, medical care, hospital fee, municipal, colonial state, hospital finance

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