Infant mortality in the concentration camps during the Anglo-Boer War
Dr Arnold van Dyk , 12 June 2021
The rhetorical question, "When is a war not a war?" was answered with "When it is carried on by methods of barbarism in South Africa." [Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (Liberal Party) in the English parliament, June 1901, after Emily Hobhouse announced her findings]
Until recently little research has been done on infant mortality during the Anglo-Boer War in concentration camps from a purely medical point of view.
The deaths were illustrated with graphs and it is clear from it that measles and the complications (such as pneumonia) brought on by measles were the cause of about 65-75% of deaths.
Reference was also made to the British political view in the light of letters written by Lord Milner.
Causes of the measles epidemic were discussed as well as the poor management of camps such as that infected people were moved to camps where there were no infections, like from Kroonstad to Heilbron. There was only one doctor for about 2000 people who were in the camps.
The wonderful work by Emily Hobhouse and later the Ladies' Committee that came into being after Emily Hobhouse's revelations about the camps, led to an improvement in conditions in the camps.