havens_of_refugeHavens of Refuge

by W. S. Davidson

ISBN 978-0-85905-641-0, (1978 R 2016), Soft Cover, 202 pages, Illustrated, 290 grams

$30.00* + POST

"There is at the present time a considerable redistribution of populations taking place in the world, with the consequent redistribution of disease from endemic to non-endemic areas and to susceptible populations.

Havens of Refuge is the history of the incursion of inhabitants from S.E. Asia into the north of Western Australia in pearling days, and the subsequent development of leprosy in the indigenous susceptible population. The book does not deal with clinical details, but with the history of events relative to the introduction of leprosy, its spread and the efforts to contain it, based on and largely told in the words of contemporary observers and administrators, and it illustrates the fallacies of contemporary thought, now in danger of being repeated.

Today, leprologists throughout the world are displaying considerable anxiety because of the widespread appearance of Mycobacterium leprae totally resistant to the sulphone drugs which constitute our main chemotherapeutic treatments. No resistant strain has yet appeared in Western Australia. It is inevitable, however, that it will arise or be imported and so early diagnosis becomes all the more important both for the individual and for the community."

These prophetic and alarming words were written in 1978.

The massive outbreaks of once defeated diseases in the USA, due to uncontrolled invasions, is a harbinger of what we are facing. We are not informed by our out of control governments of the real situation. Will our distorted and collapsing medical and social welfare systems be able to cope in the economic collapse now looming closer every day.

Finally, foreign activists are vocal about the Australian Aboriginal problem. They conveniently forget that the Chinese spent centuries exterminating their minorities and that they, and their SE Asian associate's, introduction of leprosy, smallpox, slavery, and opium to Australia did more damage to the Aboriginals than the white man ever could. It is to their education that I resignedly dedicate the reprint of this important but ignored book.

Dr W. S. Davidson was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and educated at Aberdeen University. He served as Surgeon Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, 1932-35, and in the Indian Medical Service, 1938-48; he became Deputy Commissioner of Public Health in Western Australia, 1949-63, and Commissioner, 1963-74. He is an Associate Member of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, and Foundation Fellow of the Australian College of Medical Administrators. He has contributed articles to Leprosy Review, Australian Journal of Dermatology, Medical Journal of Australia and Lancet on various subjects. He was later Consulting Leprologist to the Western Australian Government.