Thursday, 17 March 2022, 06.00 PM-07.30 PM
Vaccination in the late Ottoman Empire:
A journey into medical modernization through the lenses of the School of Medicine*
Yesim Isil Ulman**
The nineteenth century was a period of reformation for the Ottoman Society as a whole; the determined efforts for modernisation beginning in the first decades had its reflections in the field of education, as well. Modern institutions of higher education started with the establishment of the Military Academy (1773), the Naval Academy (1793), and the School of Medicine, Tıbhane-i Amire, (1827) which was combined with the School of Surgery, Cerrahhane-i Mamure, later in 1832. Soon after, Tıbhane-i Amire ve Cerrahhane-i Mamure (School of Medicine and Surgery) failed to cover the needs of contemporary medicine and brought about demands for educational reform and for a more functional education system necesitating a larger building. An old palace school in Galata Saray at Pera (Istanbul) was modified and rebuilt to that aim, and the institution began to serve as the Imperial School of Medicine (Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Adliye-i Şahane) (1838), named in honour of the Sultan Mahmud II, Adli, the Just and Equitable.
Even though it is originally a military medical school, this institution initiated public health services movement. The School not only produced but administred vaccination against contagious diseases such as smallpox on children and adults both muslim and non-muslim. They were vaccinated for free against smallpox every year by trained vaccinators. For instance, the number of vaccinated children (Turks, Armenians, Greeks, Jews, foreigners) in 1843 was 2295. The number rose to 12.000 three years later. Likewise the School encouraged the endorsement and participation of the Sultan in the promotion of the vaccination programme. Department of Pharmacology developed and distributed free medication.
The success of Galatasaray Medical School was mainly based on the State policy to support modernisation in the Ottoman Empire together with endorsing reformation in the education system that subserved revolutionary steps in medical education. Reorganised and reformed to satisfy the needs of the society for covering the techniques and knowledge of contemporary medicine and the allied sciences, the School drastically increased its rate of providing qualified healthcare providers and addressing public health needs. Yearly reports allow us to follow this advancement quite clearly and learn more about this period of the School’s history. Despite changing venues over the subsequent years, medical education continued until present time. This presentation will specifically deal with the story of vaccines and vaccination over the years during the late Ottoman Empire, particularly focusing the institutions and contributions to this healthcare facility.
Professor of medical history and ethics at Acibadem University School of Medicine (Istanbul Turkey). She has studied humanities, political science, history of medicine and ethics. The subjects of her MA, MSc and PhD on the history of modernization in science and medicine (1986-1999). She became Associate Professor in 2005 and has been Full Professor since 2013.
She chaired and contributed to the studies and works of the Turkish Bioethics Association (2006-2012); coordinated in the Training Programme of Health Law Certificate for Acibadem Univ. Continued Education (ASEGEM) (2010- 2014) in collaborative spirit. She served as the vice-chair of the University Research Ethics Committee (2009-2014), member of Hospital Ethics Committee (2009-present), Animal Experiments Ethics Committee (2012-present). She is at the editorial board of Acibadem Univ. Journal of Health Sciences. She was invited to establish the Turkey Working Group of the Cambridge Consortium of Bioethics Education (2013) in collaboration with multidisciplinary team. Dr. Ulman is an internationally certified trainer of Moral Case Deliberation, an innovative and dialogical approach to teaching ethics and ethics consultation developed by the Amsterdam UMC Medical Humanities. She has contributed to Horizon VIRT2UE Research Integrity Project as a stakeholder and co-trainer. She has initiated Acibadem University Bioethics Master of Science Programme, and the acting director of the Acibadem University Institute of Social Sciences. She serves as referee for EU Cost Projects and reporter to the Council of Europe Bioethics Committee (DH-BIO). She is the delegate of Turkey at the International Society for the History of Medicine.
The main interests of her studies are the history of modernization in medicine; teaching ethics and medical humanities; main issues of bioethics; ethical aspects of emerging technologies, research and publication ethics, animal experiments; gender issues, health law. She has collaborated numerous international and local research projects on vulnerable groups, gender-based violence; main issues of bioethics, emerging technologies and teaching bioethics. Her latest research projects are on the ethical aspects of Artificial Intelligence in medicine and healthcare and End of Life Decision making and Living Wills.