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The Book Forum
May 4, 1964

A Practice of Social Medicine: A South African Team's Experience in Different African Communities

JAMA. 1964;188(5):476. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060310076033

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The locale of this book is South Africa—among the Zulu-speaking tribes of rural Pholela and the inhabitants of the city of Durban (and its surrounding communities of varying ethnic and economic composition). Medical care, brought to these people by the Institute of Family and Community Living of the University of Natal, adapts itself to special community problems.

If, for example, the men of a rural village migrate to the mines of Johannesburg, they leave their home area disproportionately populated with women and children. The result is poor farming, soil erosion, and malnutrition. The father makes a relatively good salary, but lives in squalid, crowded, migrant labor camps, and loses much of his money to liquor and entertainment. He may acquire a second wife there and return home less and less often. When he does he is likely to bring syphilis, previously unknown in rural villages. Such problems, both medical and

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