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Health of University Students in Italy

Nature volume 158, page 783 (30 November 1946) | Download Citation



THE substance of an address delivered by Marc Daniels at a conference held in Italy in connexion with the National Council of Research in 1945 has been published (Ric. Sci. e Ricostruz., March-April 1946)He points out that university students are potentially the most precious possession of a nation, because they represent the intellectual and professional leaders of the future; but they are susceptible to various maladies during their period of study. It is remarkable that in the past so little care has been exercised on their behalf, not only in Italy but also in other countries. Daniels regards tuberculosis as the most serious problem confronting them because it is responsible for more deaths among the young people of both sexes than any other disease. During the War the mortality from tuberculosis increased considerably and in some parts of Italy was doubled, while in London it increased by 70 per cent among the young in the first year of the War. After tuberculosis, venereal disease assumed alarming proportions during the War in different countries, and there is no reason to think that Italy is an exception. A short description is given of the efforts that have been made to combat tuberculosis among students in the United States, Great Britain and France. The latter country has a special anti-tubercular service for university students, of which the author, who had first-hand knowledge of its working when it was initiated in 1932, speaks most highly. Although he does not think that in existing circumstances a national medical service in Italy is possible, he is convinced that every university in the country should regard the organisation of such a service for its students as lying within the limits of possibility. Medical attention at the beginning of a student's career and subsequent attention annually should form a chief part of the prophylactic services. Given a sufficient number of men of good will in the faculty of medicine, prepared to collaborate in the preparation of a medical programme, and given the cooperation of other faculties and also of students' organisations, the University of Rome should be able to institute a medical service for the students which would serve as a model for the assistance of the young people of Italy, on whom depends the future of the country.

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