A rare book in Arabic language was written by a medical doctor Serobyan from a colonial foundling home and hospital named after Lady Cromer in Cairo. It contains instructions, accompanied by illustrations, on a modern medical and health care for babies, such as correct feeding, disinfection of food, breastfeeding and regular checkups.
According to the imprint the book was published by the Office of the Public Education for schools for girls.
The hospital was founded in the memory of Ethel (née Errington), the first wife Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer (1841 – 1917), who served as the agent and consul-general in Egypt from 1883 to 1907. Lady
Cromer died in 1898 and the foundling hospital Lady Cromer Home together with a hospital was founded in the same year in a wing of Qasr El Eyni Hospital in Cairo.
Such organizations were often created by British colonial officials, who then handed the posts to their friends and wives. The hospitals and orphanages were also joined by sporadic upper-class Egyptian women, as the others refused to join the colonial organizations. (Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr. – Arthur Goldschmidt – Amy J. Johnson – Barak A. Salmoni, ed., Re-envisioning Egypt 1919-1952, p. 365).
The Lady Cromer Home and Hospital was growing quickly. In 1902, it admitted 81 infants and in 1904, 131 infants. Yet most of the foundlings, who were left by their mothers in the warm weather on the streets, died upon arriving to the hospital. Lord Cromer, who was known for his little understanding for the Islam and disdain for the local traditional treatment of women, supervised the hospital personally and blamed the Egyptian women for abandoning their children without understanding the stigma of being a single mother in Cairo around 1900. (Beth Baron, The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, 2014, p. 31).
The law changed in 1912, when the abandoned children could be adopted by women, who found them, which released the pressure on the orphanages.
This pamphlet was written by doctor Serobyan, employed in the Lady Cromer institution, to educate young girls in public schools in the newest Western methods of medical and health care for newborns and babies.
The book is written in Arabic, as is was published for the local students. Most of the medical books, published by the colonials after 1893, when Egypt eventually ceded control of its School of Medicine and its hospital, were printed in English, which often disabled the further studies of the local medical doctors. (Hibba Abugideiri, Egyptian Women and the Science Question: Gender in the Making of Colonized Medicine, 1893–1919. The Arab Studies Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Fall 1996), pp. 46-78).
Although this is not a school book for medical students, it played an important role in the education of young women, who might use this knowledge with their own children or in the future as nurses, which was at the time a rare socially acceptable profession for women.
Worldcat lists one institutional copy (National Library of Israel).
References: OCLC 236000639.
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