Rashid Dunas, a scholar of modern history, said that “historical writings concerning Morocco before the granting of protection convey a grim picture of the state of his health due to successive diseases, epidemics and famines, which claimed a large number of deaths, especially due to the fact that roads that were used to deal with epidemic cases or for treatment that was traditional.”
And Dunas added in a research article published in the latest issue of Al-Manahil magazine that “the situation was not so severe at the spatial level in time, but it was almost the same for the Muslim majority and for the Jewish community.” in areas that have been subject to a deterioration in the sanitary situation in general.
And the same researcher continued in an article in which he tracked the peculiarities of the health status of the Jews of the city of Meknes during the era of the French protectorate, that “the health status of the Jewish population worsened, like that of the rest of the Muslim population, especially since the living conditions in the old navigator were very bad” .
He explained that “Henri de la Martinez described the salt pans in Morocco as very dirty, as they were an ideal breeding ground for microbes that cause dangerous diseases, and Pierre Loti did not hide his disgust at what he noticed while wandering the salt marshes. navigator of the city in 1889”, noting that “this position, which characterized the end of the 19th century, did not change after the signing of the protection agreement”.
He added: “The situation continued with relatively less intensity thanks to some measures that slightly alleviated the suffering that the old navigator was in, until the construction of a new navigator,” stressing that “factors that contributed to the deterioration in the health of members of the Jewish community were the continuation of medical treatment with traditional methods and methods, including reliance on medicinal herbs.
And the same researcher added that “during the early years of the defense, the Jews began to realize the importance of modern methods of treatment in obtaining effective healing, especially after their contact with Europeans, and observing the effectiveness of modern methods, because they early demanded their use with some social and social reservations. religious origin.
As for the diseases and epidemics most common among the ancient navigator during this period, the researcher summarized them in the diseases “typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, smallpox, scarlet fever, membranous diphtheria, poliomyelitis, conjunctivitis, heart disease, gastroenteritis, squash disease.”
He added, explaining that “protests by the Jewish elite have become more frequent in the face of this health situation as the Department of Defense demanded to intervene to find appropriate solutions that would improve the situation”, noting that these complaints “were recommended to the city’s municipal interests, as it warned that the old navigator is no longer suitable for everyone. And that it has become dangerous not only for the health of the Jews, but for the rest of the public health of the city.”
He continued: “The first concern that guided the development of the French administration’s health strategy from the early years of defense was the protection of the settlers from disease and infection by the epidemics that raged in the country, that is, the provision of health insurance for the “Beneficent Morocco”, which prompted him to provide many medical services for the benefit of the people.
With regard to large medical institutions, the protection authorities did not establish a special hospital for Jews in the city of Meknes, according to the same article, which indicated that the matter was limited to their treatment in a special department of the civilian hospital “Sidi Said”, which was a public health institution, services which was used by Jews and noble people, as well as foreigners without Muslims.
The researcher pointed to some of the efforts of the Jewish community in the field of health to change the therapeutic culture, when in 1946 the Moroccan branch of the Children’s Help Organization was established, which in turn created branches in all Moroccan salt waters, including Meknes, in order to provide basic primary prevention.
Jewish community agents were also involved in increasing the level of medical mobilization among the seafarer’s Jews in order to ensure his cleanliness, according to Rashid Dunas, who confirmed that Jews were actively and spontaneously attracted to the services of modern medicine, which contributed to the improvement of the sanitary and hygienic conditions of the Jewish community in the city of Meknes after construction of a new navigator.
Dunas concluded his article by saying that the treatment and prevention measures used by the local Jewish community during the era of the French protectorate contributed to a decrease in the incidence and a decrease in the percentage of people infected with the infection and the number of victims. , and subsequently contributed to increasing the chances of candidates for immigration to Israel after 1948.