Taking care of baby: Chilean state-making, international relationsand the gendered body politic, 1912-1970
AuthorBlack, Victoria Lynn
KeywordsHistory, Latin American.
Health Sciences, Public Health.
Sociology, Public and Social Welfare.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractStarting in the early 1900s, Chileans began to address skyrocketing levels of infant mortality. Committed to establishing state welfare policies, health scientists led campaigns to improve infant health. They concentrated on reforming working class maternity. This began a historical connection among health science, public welfare and indigent mothers in Chile. Looking to expand their international role in medical philanthropy in the 1930s, the Rockefeller Foundation invested heavily in Chilean medicine. Following suggestions by leftist physicians, North American philanthropists expanded maternal and child health care. From the 1930s through the 1940s, Chilean and U.S. health professionals further collaborated to reform medical education, build schools of medicine, establish public clinics, open research centers and provide public health education. Cooperation between Chilean leftists and representatives of the Rockefeller Foundation finally succeeded in socializing medicine in 1952. The National Health Service constituted a significant part of Chile's growing welfare system. Supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and Chilean government, state medicine continued to focus on working class women and infants. Leaders from the Rockefeller Foundation's International Health Division attempted to limit their role in Chilean medicine as early as 1940. After helping Chileans to expand public health, Foundation leaders planned to withdraw from Chile. Prominent nationals, particularly leftist health scientists connected with socialized medicine, strongly protested this departure. Mutual interest between Chilean and North American health scientists in family planning persuaded the Rockefeller Foundation to remain. North Americans connected to the Rockefeller Foundation and wealthy Chileans feared social problems caused by burgeoning population. Leftists in the Chilean government worried that public funds could not match popular demand for state services. Population control advocates from the U.S., in turn, feared that growing populations in developing countries would consume world resources. Working with like-minded nationals, North American philanthropists, academics, diplomats and politicians instituted family planning in Chile. Population programs based on the mass distribution and study of previously untested intrauterine devices mushroomed. Pressure from the newly elected Communist president, Salvador Allende, as well as high-ranking U.S. politicians finally ended Chilean population control programs in the early 1970s.
Degree ProgramGraduate College