Article ID: CBB574118038

The Lives of the ‘Native Medical Orderlies’ in Gemo Hospital in Postwar Papua and New Guinea (1946–74) (2021)


This paper explores the history and memory of a TB and leprosy colony Gemo Island in postwar Papua and New Guinea (1946-74). Gemo Hospital was financed by the colonial government of Australia, administered by the European Sisters of the London Missionary Society, and staffed by Samoan Sisters and local medical orderlies. The contributions of the orderlies have been neglected in archives and historiography, which are typically interested in either missionary heroes or the Indigenous sufferers. This paper contributes to the literature on the histories of care for leprosy and biomedical infrastructures in the Pacific by focusing on the experiences of the Indigenous medical orderlies and their children on Gemo. To these individuals, Gemo was not an isolated place filled with stigma; it was a porous space to obtain access to care and modernity.

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Authors & Contributors
Kreutzer, Susanne
Bakker, Catharina Th.
Onyedum, Jennifer Johnson
Hancock, Christin L.
Cleveland, Todd
Varanda, Jorge
Health and History
Medizin, Gesellschaft, und Geschichte
History of Psychiatry
International Journal of Middle East Studies
Journal of Women's History
Campus Verlag
Vanderbilt University Press
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Duke University Press
Health care
Nurses and nursing
Medicine and religion
Medicine and politics
Nightingale, Florence
New South Wales (Australia)
Papua New Guinea
United States
20th century, early
20th century, late
19th century
20th century
World Health Organization (WHO)

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