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April 1987

Surgical Disease in East Africa: Presidential Address

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, and the New England Deaconess Hospital, Boston.

Arch Surg. 1987;122(4):397-402. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400160023001

The provision of health care to any organized group of humans is intimately tied to the winds of change that occur in the political and economic arena of that particular group.

Africa is no exception to this broad generalization. During the past quarter century, independence, although not necessarily liberty, has come to most of the nations of this vast continent that was, until 100 years ago, except for the coastal areas, aptly described by the term darkest Africa because of the lack of knowledge in western European countries of the history and culture of its peoples.

Time and space preclude adequate review of the complex but fascinating history of the continent and both perspective and detail will be limited to the area usually referred to as East Africa.

This geographic entity encompasses the countries of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania and includes the magnificent Lake Victoria, from which emerges the headwaters

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