WUS in Ceylon, India and Pakistan

In the fall of 1961, the Executive Committee of international WUS in Geneva had decided to examine the situation of student health protection in Southeast Asia. In addition to a project review, further support for previously supported projects was to be discussed. At that time, I had travelled to Geneva on behalf of Professor Dr. Herbert Dr. Elbel (1959-1960 Chairman of the Executive Board of WUS). The most prominent participant at the meetings in Geneva was the President of India, Professor Dr. Zakir Hussain.

German WUS delegation at student workshop in Istanbul

1962 – Mission to Ceylon, India and Pakistan

Participants at WUS Sri Lanka workshop Peradeniya

The “inter-ministerial committee” of the German government granted us the travel expenses to attend the “South-East Asian Conference on Student Health”. A German representative was to give a lecture followed by a discussion on student health care in Germany. The goal of the trip was also to get to know the facilities on-site in Bombay, Hyderabad, Madras, Benares, Allahabad and New Delhi during visits. Karachi was also on the itinerary

Hubertus Lehnert with WUS India as a family

In Kolkata, we visited health facilities, including a mobile X-ray unit. Its weight required eight porters. The images were viewed and evaluated at a desk lamp. This led to many misinterpretations and a large number of “full-size” control images that quickly consumed the budget. Evaluation equipment and other know-how had not been supplied.

Workshop in Peradeniya Sri Lanka

In Allahabad (India), we found an X-ray machine, unpacked in a shed, but not in operation. What was the problem? The Student Health Centre had specified alternating current as the supply voltage, but the conversion from direct current to alternating current in the country had been delayed for years. As a result, a rectifier had to be procured from Germany before the equipment could be put into operation. Discussions with students repeatedly highlighted the concern that while the cost of diagnosis was comparatively low, the cost of treatment locally was prohibitively expensive.

WUS New Delhi clinic
The library in the New Delhi WUS India clinic

Together, I was travelling with the family of the WUS Chair of New Delhi. We were involved in a traffic accident and were not insured! The original report of this business trip is considered lost.

Author profile
Hubertus Lehnert

Dr. med. Lehnert was elected as AStA chairperson in Bonn in 1956. He was part of the silent march with the DGB against the intervention of the Soviet Union in Hungary, founding Hungarian Aid, which was realised together with WUS. On April 21, 1958, he presented a study on urgent reform of student health care and proposals for its reorganisation. In November 1960 he participated in the meeting of the Executive Committee of International WUS in Geneva on behalf of Prof. Elbel. The main topic was "Student Health Facilities in Southeast Asia. In 1961 he joined the International Conference on Student Mental Health in Murten, Switzerland, organised by WHO, WUS, UNESCO; in 1962 he was at the Colombo, Ceylon Conference on Student Health in Southeast Asia and in 1962 at the "Help for Self-Help" international conference in Sooksu near Istanbul/Turkey.