Visual materials of the journal „Shliakh do zdorovia” („Path to Health”) as a tool of an anti-tuberculosis campaign in the Ukrainian SSR (in the 1920s): Education and propaganda.
Keywords:anti-tuberculosis campaign, Soviet authorities, Soviet Ukraine, 1920s, visual materials, agitation and propaganda, education, medical periodicals
After the Bolsheviks had come to power in Ukraine, they faced a number of social problems to be solved. One of them was the significant spread of tuberculosis. To fight the infectious diseases a special information campaign was launched at pages of various periodicals, including a popular-science journal, „Shliakh do zdorovia„(„Path to Health”), established by the People’s Commissariat for Health in 1925 and subsequently published by the same institution. The journal reflected the official policy in the struggle against tuberculosis. It included visual materials to facilitate the public absorbing information. As such, it became an important tool in the anti-tuberculosis campaign. Simultaneously, like all other periodicals, this journal was an instrument of agitation and propaganda activities of the Bolsheviks. The article depicts the reasons why an active information campaign against tuberculosis was launched. It also clarifies the role which visual materials played in the anti-tuberculosis campaign carried out in "Shliakh do zdorovia" as well as it shows top directions of this campaign alongside with main topics raised by the authors of the articles published in the journal. Finally, it compares the level of educational and propaganda component in each direction and in the information campaign as a whole. The results of the study indicate that within the Bolsheviks' anti-tuberculosis campaign three main directions can be distinguished: 1) explanation, why there were a significant number of people suffering from tuberculosis in the Ukrainian SSR; 2) explanation, why the disease had been spreading further; 3) presentation of the initiatives which Soviet authorities had taken on to overcome tuberculosis. To show specific problems in each of these fields as well as actions raised by Soviet authorities to solve them, visual materials were actively used. Thus, political and ideological components often came to the fore, even though the very problem of tuberculosis was medical.