- "God Bless General Perón": DDT and the Endgame of Malaria Eradication in Argentina in the 1940s
- Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
- Oxford University Press
- Volume 64, Number 1, January 2009
- pp. 78-122
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article explores the politics of malaria eradication in Argentina during the first government of Juan D. Perón. The article develops the theme of historical convergence to understand the rapid mobilization and success of the climactic battle against malaria in Northwest Argentina. The nearly complete eradication of malaria in Argentina resulted from a combination of three factors. First, Carlos Alvarado, the director of Argentina's Malaria Service, had already developed a solid but flexible organizational base that allowed a dramatic change in control strategy. Second, an infusion of new technologies, especially DDT but also motor vehicles, was instrumental. Lastly, a radical reorientation of national public health policy in the 1940s, under the direction of Perón and his health minister, Ramón Carrillo, encouraged eradication. These figures embraced and refashioned long-standing organicist ideologies that hitched the strength of the nation-state to the health and vigor of its ordinary citizens. This ideological orientation was reflected in bold, populist political strategies that showcased swift, massive, and expensive public health campaigns, including malaria eradication. In the conclusion, the article explores the ambiguous connections between malaria eradication and an ecological perspective on the disease.