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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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Founding the Women’s Medical Service in India

Founding the Women’s Medical Service in India

The Colonial State and the ‘Medical Needs’ of Indian Women

(p.155) Chapter Five Founding the Women’s Medical Service in India
Colonial Medical Care in North India

Samiksha Sehrawat

Oxford University Press

The Association of Medical Women in India (AMWI) called on the state to abandon attempts to emulate the British voluntary hospital system and invest more directly in medical care for Indian women. Officials privately conceded that medical philanthropy had failed to finance medical care in India and admitted that some state investment was necessary given the expectation that the colonial state would provide public medical care. Publicly the state continued to insist that government resources could not bear the burden of financing medical care for Indians. The AMWI’s strategy of exposing the Indian government’s failure to provide for the medical needs of ‘dumb’ Indian women patients generated pressure from British public opinion. This pressure led to the formation of a state-funded Women’s Medical Service in India. The Women’s Medical Service in India would later be at the heart of initiatives to improve infant and maternal health.

Keywords:   medical care, medical philanthropy, Association of Medical Women in India, Dufferin Fund, women doctors, colonial state, Women’s Medical Service, medical finance, gender, India Office

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