Abstract

In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2019. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 139–157.

This essay examines the internationalization of Soviet-bloc healthcare in Africa in the 1970s. The decade was characterized by geographies of medical assistance that reflected East European states’ evolving interests on the continent. Africa was a testing ground for a two-track approach involving medical exports from the socialist “bloc”. “Fraternal” health aid continued in regimes that embraced Soviet-style socialism. Simultaneously, the Soviet-bloc states provided contract-based assistance in North Africa and the Middle East, depicting it as an alternative to Western neo-colonialism (Libya was a paradigmatic case). The Communist governments’ willingness to pursue contract-based, hard-currency structured medical assistance or “fraternal” aid to various regimes in Africa opened the door to agreements for much larger economic stakes. However, East European developers were increasingly contested in post-colonial spaces. Once primary healthcare came onto the scene as an alternative paradigm for aid to the Third World, Soviet-bloc medical workers’ “civilizing mission” was challenged (e.g., in Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia). The essays compares the policies of Warsaw Pact countries with China’s, Cuba’s, and Yugoslavia’s medical assistance policies in Africa. By the 1980s, the filter of internationalist, anti-colonial solidarity, the vital ingredient for non-deterministic Communist readings of health realities in Africa, was fading. Commercial considerations gained ever greater salience in East European medical assistance.

 

Über den Autor

Bogdan C. Iacob, Dr. phil., geb. 1979 in Focşani (Rumänien). Ph.D. in Geschichte an der Central European University Budapest. Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter im Projekt »1989 After 1989: Rethinking the Fall of State Socialism in Global Perspective” an der University of Exeter (http://1989after1989. exeter.ac.uk/). Wissenschaftlicher Leiter des Projekts “Turning Global: Socialist Experts during the Cold War” (https://globalsocialistexperts.wordpress.com/) am New Europe College (Bukarest) und wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter im AHRC-Project “Socialism Goes Global. Cold War Connections between the ›Second‹ and ›Third Worlds‹” (http://socialismgoesglobal.exeter.ac.uk/). Veröffentlichungen u. a.: Ideological Storms: Intellectuals, Dictators, and the Totalitarian Temptation, Budapest 2018; Remembrance, History and Justice. Coming to Terms with Traumatic Pasts in Democratic Societies, Budapest 2015; The End and the Beginning. The Revolutions of 1989 and the Resurgence of History, Budapest 2012 (mit Vladimir Tismaneanu).