The Role of Mar Alvares Julius in Health Care & Disease Prevention

Image of Mar Alvares and Images of the Book -'Directions for the Treatment of Cholera' Courtesy- Central Library, Goa.
Image of Mar Alvares and Images of the Book -‘Directions for the Treatment of Cholera’ Courtesy- Central Library, Goa.

Dr. Ajehs T. Philip (Head and Chief Research Officer of OCP- MARP) – 24/11/18

With no doubt, we can say that Mar Alvares Julius (Padre Alvares) was a multi-talented personality. He was the chief organizer of Padrado Defence Association which later became the Independent Catholic Church of Ceylon, Goa, and India. His ecclesiastical role kept him busy. However, these things did not keep Mar Alvares away from involving and working towards the problems of the society and that of the common man.

Cholera Outbreak
Goa (during the time of Mar Alvares) was affected by endemic diseases like malaria, typhoid and killer epidemics like typhoid, plague, and cholera. Cholera was one of the major and deadliest epidemics during the time (there were six cholera pandemics (worldwide) that lasted from 1817-1975). India was one of the most affected countries. In 1878 there was a deadly cholera outbreak in Goa that killed a large number of people, especially the poor and the needy.

Lecture on ‘Mango Grafting’ by Metropolitan Alvares Julius at M.D. Seminary School

Active Social Work During the Cholera Outbreak
Mar Alvares rose to the occasion and tirelessly worked in the disease affected areas. The great prelate was least bothered about his life. Padre Alvares took care of those afflicted with the deadly disease in all possible manner. He looked after them at their houses, even took the homeless to his own house and to hospitals for better medical care. He carried many on his own shoulders (upon their death) for burial. He worked among the people and he was with the people during the tough times.

Booklet – Direction for the Treatment of Cholera
In 1883-1885, during the outbreak of Cholera (for the second time), he published a booklet titled ‘Direccoes Para O Tratamento Do Cholera’ in Portuguese. The booklet was translated and published in English by the title ‘ Direction for the Treatment of Cholera; in Goa and it was republished in 1896 in Ceylon (for the use of Ceylonese community). Padre Alvares was able to publish this booklet from the filed experience he gained from treating and taking care of the cholera victims.

In his small booklet, Padre Alvares clearly explains everything (like a professional medical practitioner) related to Cholera and its treatment. He has given a fair description of the disease, its symptoms, and various methods of disease prevention and treatment.

Azevedo, Carmo (1988). Patriot and Saint: The Life Story of Father Alvares/Bishop Mar Julius I. Panjim.
Xavier Alvares, R. (1883). Direction for the Treatment of Cholera. Nova-Goa.
Documents from the Central State Library, Panjim, Goa.

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