Saturday, June 30, 2007

Why is Craig-y-nos so important?

I put this question to historian Dr. Carole Reeves, Outreach Historian, the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London.
I was genuinely puzzled why our stories, concealed for over half a century, could have any interest to people outside our immediate family.

This is her reply:

This is a very important project for a number
of reasons.

Firstly, there are no collective accounts of patient experiences in a TB sanatorium, and certainly none from those who were there as children or teenagers.
Secondly, the catchment area for Craig-y-nos was relatively small, so this is as much a study of a community and the impact of tuberculosis and institutionalisation on its children as it is of a sanatorium.
The time span - 1930s to 1950s - is also important because it covers the years prior to and beyond the introduction of effective drug
treatment (1946).

Thirdly, although this is a historical study, tuberculosis
is not a disease of history. Since the mid-1980s there has been a worldwide
increase in TB of about 1 per cent a year. In Britain the increase has been
nearer 2 per cent and continues to rise.

Although TB no longer commands the shame and dread of 60 years ago, it's important for us and for future generations to keep alive the memories of a generation of youngsters whose experiences, both physical and emotional, have helped change the way that sick children experience hospitalisation and treatment today.
In many ways,it is a heartening story of courage and survival.

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