As the Soviet doctors struggled with post-war epidemics in Poland and China

Today the news of the coronavirus – like reports from the scene of hostilities. Countries close to each other, put barriers at the borders. There was a time when people were United to defeat the infection. Know it from the stories our mom Kulchitskaya (Ermishina) Ada Andreevna, which as part of the sanitary-epidemiological units (they were created by decision of the Council of people’s Commissars of the USSR from 11.12.1945 G.) traveled to the areas of epidemics, first in Poland and then in China.

Then the mother was 18 years old.

Poland thanked a gourmet lunch…

One of the terrible consequences of war and infectious diseases: typhoid, acute intestinal infections, venereal disease became the scourge of post-war Poland. Brigade of Soviet doctors were sent there to help deal with the deadly scourge. The load was huge: surveys and laboratory studies, treatment and preventive measures, disinfection, sanitary-educational work. As he wrote “Izvestia” 22.09.1946 G., Soviet medical personnel examined the sanitary condition of the 756 settlements, inspection passed about 250 thousand inhabitants of Polish villages and towns.

the Epidemic, the Constitution, the adaptation. The project “Rodina” – VATNIKSTAN

In total, mother, moving from place to place, worked in the Polish zone of epidemics almost 11 months. Before leaving the grateful residents and the municipality decided to arrange for Soviet physicians dinner party. The table was full of dishes: hot and cold snacks, first and second dishes, pastries. Doctors it was scarfed. After that was filed… the second shift of dishes, third, fourth…

Then the hosts explained that for the most important guests on the Polish tradition of a lunchtime of nine full courses. Mother, laughing, recalled how the doctors are worried, hwe ate on the first pass.

For his work, mom was awarded the state award of Poland – order “Silver cross of merit”. It is stored in our home with family heirlooms from my mother’s next trip.

After the shift (Hell Yermishin – left). Poland, Olsztyn. 1946. Photo: from family archive…and the Chinese were crying, saying goodbye

From July 1948 to January 1949 mom in the composition of inepititude worked in Manchuria (northeast China), where an epidemic of plague. The disease decimated everyone, but especially for the most vulnerable people – children, old people. The range was terrible poverty and unsanitary conditions. But the people refused to bear children for vaccination because they believed: they will thus kill (was the sad experience of the Japanese occupation). Refused to voluntarily do the injections.

certificate of merit mom from North-Eastern administration of China. 1948. Photo: from family archive

to Force people to treatment was much more difficult than to cure. This is dramatically told in “Sketches of epidemic of plague in Manchuria in 1945-1947” M. V. Apatitskogo and N. With. Supotnitskiy:

the Origins of today’s patients distrust of the physicians in the cholera riots of the nineteenth century

“In 1947 in the Manchurian endemic hearth broke out a big plague epidemic, covering 19 counties and cost about 30 thousand victims. <...>the Chinese population did not believe in modern medicine and prefer to protect from the plague to hang at the entrance to the house any cloth or woven grass mesh. As the Japanese for “radical disinfection” burned Chinese Fangzi without damages, the population tried PRto atate sick or ran… Often there were times when wealthy people hire poor people and send them yourself instead of in isolation.”

But in the end, mom, the Chinese are very fond of Russian physicians treated them with great respect and wept at parting.

For his work in China, mom was awarded a letter sheet and insignia from the Department of hygiene of the North-Eastern administration of China.

Soviet, Polish and Chinese insignia, has Hell Ermisino.