14th journées Louis-André Gérard-Varet

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Health in Former French West Africa: Main Determinants of Colonial Policies
Lea Rouanet

Last modified: 2015-03-09


This paper sheds new light on colonial health policies and their determinants
in former French West Africa between 1904 and 1958. Drawing on annual colonial
health reports, it gathers a unique dataset containing both health inputs and
health outcomes, at the colonial district level. Descriptive results show that the
provision of health services increases over time and moves towards more basic
health care. This paper investigates the main drivers of health policies allocation
across colonial districts. It shows that urbanization and military conscription are
associated with increases in medical staff. This paper also provides suggestive
evidence that part of this result comes from an infrastructure channel. There is
no health provision subsitution between districts. A further result is that epidemic
leads to an increase in medical staff numbers. This increase is higher in districts
which were more populated by Europeans, historically.


Health, Diseases, Colonial Policies, West Africa.