Health and Politics – Preventive Health Care in Hungary in the First Half of the 20th Century Cover Image

Egészség és politika – az egészségügyi prevenció Magyarországon a 20. század első felében
Health and Politics – Preventive Health Care in Hungary in the First Half of the 20th Century

Author(s): László Kiss
Subject(s): History
Published by: KORALL Társadalomtörténeti Egyesület
Keywords: social history; Hungary; 20th century; social politics; public health

Summary/Abstract: The processes of the emergence of the independence of preventive health care, the organization of preventive health care institutions and the increasing role of the state in the functioning of the system were central to the development of the health care system in Hungary between the two world wars. The National Stefánia Alliance, founded during World War I., aimed at establishing the system of the protection of mothers and infants. Though it received no support, the Stefánia Alliance pursued its activities as a public association and began the creation of the system in the cities, as it was unable to provide health protection to the rural population due to insufficient resources. The first substantial change was the establishment of the National Public Health Institute (OKI). As a state budgetary organization, OKI became the main organized and manager of preventive health care in Hungary by the mid-thirties. Tanks to the bacteriological examinations, water sampling and the production of vaccines in OKI as well as the health protective activities of the Green Cross organization under the auspices of the institution, the provision of preventive care to the rural population started and achieved significant results within just a few years in the struggle against such devastating infections as tuberculosis, diphtheria and typhoid fever. During the thirties, the proponents of state management and those of social management, the Stefánia Alliance and OKI fought a hard struggle for the supervision and organization of and hegemony over the preventive health care system. The struggle ended with the victory of state management: Stefánia Alliance folded up at the end of 1940, its institutions and staff of experts were taken over by OKI. Preventive health care became a state task, the Green Cross Health Protection Services was elevated to the rank of a state institution.

  • Issue Year: 2004
  • Issue No: 17
  • Page Range: 107-137
  • Page Count: 31