On the eve of the First World War, a conference of doctors—the first such large-scale meeting of physicians in Eretz Israel—was held in Jerusalem to mount a campaign against trachoma. The scientific and professional atmosphere at the three-day conference produced efficient and creative work procedures whose effects are still evident today. Decades after the conference, optometrists and public health personnel continue to apply its guidelines for social and environmental preventive medicine. The 'Trachoma Conference' developed the field of public medicine in Eretz Israel by progressive medical advancements based on vast knowledge and research of the causes of trachoma, its spread, methods of treatment, etc. Subsequently, experiments were conducted to reveal more about the disease, the environmental conditions contributing to its spread and validation of medical diagnosis by laboratory confirmation. The Jewish medical community, still under the Ottoman regime, for the first time conducted itself in an active and organized manner for the welfare of the Jewish and Arab population. Without the aid—or interference—of the authorities, the doctors successfully developed a professional, organized infrastructure founded on an exceptional social philosophy: to build up public confidence in reliance upon its own resources, without dependence upon any external ones. It was only natural that a proposal to create a single organization uniting all Jewish doctors in Eretz Israel was discussed at the conference. The spirit of determination that characterized this ground-breaking conference and the perseverance in the implementation of its decisions imbued all those involved in the medical profession in the country with the belief that by means of effort, intelligence and unification of resources, any social or professional goal could be attained.
|Translated title of the contribution||The Campaign against Trachoma: The Beginnings of Public Health in Eretz Israel|
|Journal||קתדרה: לתולדות ארץ-ישראל וישובה|
|State||Published - 1999|