This presidential address delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Malaya Branch of the British Medical Association deals with the history of the impact of western medicine on Malaya. In the early years curative medicine monopolized attention. A Port Quarantine Service was established in 1900 but serious attention to preventive medicine had to wait till 1911 When the Health Service of the then Federated Malay States was founded. Rubber had brought amazing prosperity and disease prevention yielded increased dividends. The address provides much interesting information about Malaya, its peoples and their diseases, and the efforts made by research workers and health departments to control disease prevalence during the last 28 years: this does not lend itself to summary. For the future, outstanding tasks include the application of recently acquired knowledge and techniques to the control of malaria; an allout attack on tuberculosis; much more attention to nutrition and deficiency diseases, and an orientation of the work of the Health Services towards social medicine. Norman White.
The cultural and socioeconomic determinants (including the accessibility, costs and perceived effectiveness of medical care) of why and how individuals engaged in health-improving behaviours are essential information for policy makers in designing strategies towards increasing the efficient utilisation of public health services and interventions. Studies on such determinants are particularly needed for urban populations given their socioeconomic and cultural heterogeneity.