Sônia Maria de Magalhães

Diagnosis of the heartland of Brazil: health and diseases in Goiás from 1823 to 1916

The impressions of Goiás as a sick province permeate the records of authorities, administrators, rulers and doctors over time. Managers, however, were already thinking that poor nutrition and living conditions, and the unfavorable topography of the capital "set in a deep basin of moist terrain, surrounded by mountains and subjected to high temperatures" might have explained the diversity of ailments that prevailed in that place. As the eighties entered, local administrators and doctors began to blame the location and architecture of the city of Goiás as preponderant factors for the various prevailing conditions. Studies related to the history of diseases and medicine in Goiás has only very recently attracted the attention of historians, denoting an open space for multiple investigations. Until then, the History of Medicine in Goiás by physician Jerônimo Bueno was one of the few studies on the subject. Thus, the characters of regional medicine: doctors, apothecaries and administrators of the old hospital establishments permeate their study. After two decades of silence, the issue emerges with more force in the book Health and diseases in Goiás, which proposes to know the health and disease seen and experienced by the people of Goiás related to food, housing, hygiene, climate, water and other components of the way of life and regional mentalities. The book, based on original sources, provides researchers with a remarkable contribution to history, medicine and public health. It is a singular work also because it contemplates as a space of analysis in the heartland of Brazil at a time when the works of history of medicine chose the coastal regions. The reading of Health and diseases in Goiás has made me aware of the need to inquire about the social construction of the disease through the impressions and records of administrators and doctors who have cast their eyes on the reality of Goiás at different times because it was not properly considered, being neglected by historiography. The proposed chronological section, 1823 to 1916, aims to investigate the construction of the regional nosological scenario from the records of the Commander of Arms, Raymundo da Cunha Mattos, who through their correspondence, left us singular records on the diseases that prevail in the northern part of the province. Inquiries spend most of the nineteenth century building a view of illness from the opinions of local administrators and doctors. It also considers the impressions of the scientific expeditions that penetrated the territory: the Cruls Commission on the threshold of the 19th century and run by doctors Belisário Penna and Arthur Neiva in the beginning of the 20th century. Dealing with this debate will certainly bring deeply analyzes on issues that until then have remained hidden or neglected in the elaboration of the nosological diagnosis of Goiás in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The temporal scope attempts to capture the remains and ruptures, continuities and discontinuities in the construction and understanding of health, disease and health conditions in Goiás over time. Therefore, the research works on a long duration term, which surpasses the force of continuity.