In this module we will be addressing the topic of public health and hygiene. By the end of this module you should know the following:
- Describe the public health challenges faced by European cities in the nineteenth century.
- Explain which theories of disease nineteenth-century Europeans believed and how these theories changed.
- Explain how the public health movement began in European cities.
Based on your examination of the assigned readings in this module, explain how officials in London and Paris responded to public health crises in the nineteenth century. How did socio-economic status affect urban health in these cities in the nineteenth century? Be sure to cite evidence from primary sources to support your position.
Public health crises in the nineteenth century
The industrial revolution transformed largely rural societies in Europe into industrialized urban societies, and as a result of this rapid urbanization, a lot of social and economic changes that occurred led to transformation of European societies to extent never witnessed before. In tandem, this essay will discuss how officials in London and Paris responded to public health crises that happened during this transformation period, and how socio-economic status affected urban health in these cities in the nineteenth century.
To start with, after first cholera outbreak (1831-1832) and second cholera outbreak (1848-1849) in London that killed 6,536 and 14,137 people respectively, London Epidemiological Society was formed to advise the government on ways to fight cholera (Cholera and the Thames). After the third outbreak Committee for Scientific Enquiry rejected a theory that cholera was water-borne, and medical inspectors were appointed to draft hygiene directives to put more pressure on local authorities to clean up the streets. The officials also came up with directives that ordered cleaning of streets and other facilities such as River Thames due to their unsanitary conditions. Additionally, the officials also commenced the construction of Bazalgette’s sewage system and the London local council took over the management of the city’s water supply (Cholera and the Thames). Furthermore, apart from taking measures to combat cholera, prostitutes with STDs who worked near ports and garrisons were from 1864 forcibly detained and treated but public outcry led to the law that directed so to be repelled after 10 years (Picard).
In the case of Paris officials, forced tanners and hide-dressers to relocate their trades in one area (from Seine to the Bièvre) in order to stop polluting the environment since these and such industries were increasing throughout the city as demand for their products increased due to…………..
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