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National Library of Medicine Web Site Spotlights Chinese Anti-Tuberculosis Posters, 1950–1980

New Online Resource is Latest to Showcase Large Collection of Chinese Public Health Posters at NLM

A new Web site featuring Chinese anti-tuberculosis posters has been launched by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world's largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health. Titled, "痨病 - Consumptive Disease: Chinese Anti-Tuberculosis Posters, 1950-1980," the site is at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/chineseantitb/index.html. NLM owns what is thought to be the largest collection of Chinese public health posters outside of China. 

This exhibit features 62 anti-tuberculosis posters that showcase Chinese campaigns to combat this debilitating disease. From 1950 through 1980, the Chinese government, working with the Anti-TB Association and the Red Cross, launched anti-tuberculosis campaigns as part of the national public health movement.

These posters emphasize key preventive methods such as using BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guérin) vaccines and eliminating public spitting, along with attention to good nutrition, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.  Anti-tuberculosis posters were an important tool in disseminating health knowledge. The campaigns, along with the universal free healthcare, led to a significant decline of tuberculosis by the 1980s. However, the disease resurged since the 1990s under the pressures of rapid industrialization and urbanization.

The online exhibit is curated by Professor Liping Bu, PhD, of Alma College, in Alma, Michigan, a visiting scholar in the Library's History of Medicine Division. It joins a number of online exhibits based on the Library's collection of 20th-century Chinese public health materials. These include:

  • "Health for the People: Continuity and Change in Asian Medicine"- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/healthforthepeople/index.html
  • "Chinese Anti-Malaria Posters"- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/chineseantimalaria/
  • "Chinese Public Health Posters"- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/chineseposters/index.html

For further information, please contact Dr. Liping Bu at bulipi@alma.edu; Dr. Paul Theerman, Head of Images and Archives, at Paul.Theerman@nih.gov; or Ms. Ginny Roth, Curator of Prints and Photographs, at Ginny.Roth@nih.gov.

 

 Poster from anti-TB collection

A poster from the anti-TB collection, "To Prevent Tuberculosis,We Must Have X-Rays Regularly." Beijing Tuberculosis Prevention Institute and the Tuberculosis Prevention Institute of the East District of Beijing, n.d., ca. 1980.

防肺结核, 要定期进行肺部透