August 15, 1966

Malaysia Aborigine Medical Program

Author Affiliations

Tonasket, Wash

JAMA. 1966;197(7):591-592. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110070115036

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To the Editor:—  The Gombak Aborigine Hospital in Malaysia is part of a most unusual overseas medical program. Through modern technology, 20th-century medicine is brought to the primitive aborigines in the jungle of Malaya.There are about 45,000 aborigines of diverse racial and linguistic origins scattered throughout the deep jungle and jungle fringe areas. These people were generally ignored until the time of the communist emergency when it became politically important for the government to maintain good relationships with them. Attempts were made to resettle them in other locations and to offer them medical care in general hospitals. However, they became very frightened and felt inferior once they were out of their own environment.In 1955 Dr. Malcolm Bolton, a British physician, began a program of medical service to the aborigines. First he gained their confidence by working with and through the local medicine men. Later he trained aborigines as