The German Democratic Republic’s Well being Care System

The German Democratic Republic’s Well being Care System

‘Socialism Is the Greatest Prophylaxis’: The German Democratic Republic’s Well being Care System

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The German Democratic Republic’s Well being Care System


Desk of Contents

  1. About Research on the DDR
  2. Well being Care in a Sick System
  3. Historic Situations within the Years Previous the DDR
  4. The DDR’s Complete Method to Well being Care
  5. Contradictions and Challenges
  6. The Polyclinic: A Fashionable Method to Outpatient Care
  7. Defending Well being within the Office
  8. Well being Take care of Moms and Youngsters
  9. Vaccination Methods
  10. The DDR’s Worldwide Cooperation and Medical Solidarity
  11. Why Is Socialism the Greatest Prophylaxis?


Logos IFDDR & Tricontinental


About Research on the DDR

The German Democratic Republic (DDR) was a socialist state based in East Germany in 1949 as a democratic, antifascist response to the Second World Battle and the next restoration of monopoly capitalism in West Germany. The DDR represented a brand new Germany, one through which the land was redistributed, the technique of manufacturing socialised, and the agricultural system collectivised. It established an egalitarian schooling, healthcare, and social system and assured equal rights between women and men. It cultivated pleasant and close-knit financial relationships with different socialist states and exercised political and materials solidarity with nations and actions preventing for his or her independence in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

The DDR’s declared goal was to determine a simply society based mostly on the ideas of equality. With public possession of the technique of manufacturing as its basis, the nation developed into a strong and environment friendly industrial state that used its financial surplus for the good thing about its residents and assured them a lifetime of social safety. Finally, the DDR was profitable in realising its fundamental socio-political objective: to fulfill its individuals’s rising materials and cultural wants.

Why trouble re-examining the DDR’s achievements, ideas, and buildings thirty years after its downfall? What can we study from its different financial practices in at this time’s world, the place the triumph of capitalism has exacerbated the issues of inequality and poverty and has resulted in additional frequent crises? What did socialist democracy actually appear like? What contradictions arose throughout the on a regular basis utility of a deliberate economic system? What classes can we draw from the DDR’s final demise?

With this collection, Research on the DDR, the Internationale Forschungsstelle DDR (Worldwide Analysis Centre DDR) along with Tricontinental: Institute for Social Analysis search to encourage a brand new engagement with the historical past and ideas of the DDR. It’s our objective to re-evaluate the legacy and experiences of this mission of socialist building. We use the German acronym DDR, or Deutsche Demokratische Republik, (English: GDR) particularly as a result of it usually represents a optimistic level of reference in lots of components of the world and particularly for nations within the World South.

This instructional collection on the agenda and realities of the DDR explores elements of on a regular basis life, gives information concerning the nation’s social achievements, and examines the political and financial foundations of this socialist state. By reflecting on the lived experiences of every day life, that are usually unnoticed of the dominant narrative as a result of crushing victory of capitalism and the dominance of the market economic system, we search to make a helpful contribution to the debates at present going down inside progressive actions. In spite of everything, tens of millions of individuals all over the world are nonetheless preventing for developments that had been as soon as a given within the socialist system however had been misplaced with its downfall.

In 1990, after the reunification of Germany, the DDR’s economic system was dismantled. It was handled as a shock remedy prototype for the austerity measures that had been quickly imposed on different nations – and never simply the previous socialist states. On the identical time, the DDR was politically, judicially, and morally delegitimised. The publications on this collection are a rejection of the narrative propagated by enemies of socialism, each new and previous, that the demise of the DDR proves the inevitable failure of socialist coverage and economic system. By depicting the realities of life within the DDR and by affirming the experiences of DDR residents, we hope to remind the reader that options to capitalism did and do exist.

This second publication in Research on the DDR explores the development and enlargement of the DDR’s well being care system within the a long time following the Second World Battle. Within the context of restricted financial assets and fierce competitors with capitalist West Germany, the DDR was capable of develop a pioneering method to drugs that positioned individuals over earnings and emphasised the significance of social obligations in stopping illness. The insights gained from this historic expertise of constructing an efficient, universally accessible well being care system can function a body of reference for these struggling in direction of a society organised for and by working individuals.


1. Well being Care in a Sick System

The way through which a society approaches problems with well being reveals a lot about its normal character. The precedence given to individuals’s well being, the diploma to which people are protected and handled equally, and the extent to which well being care is geared in direction of individuals’s actual wants paints an image of the present social and political circumstances.

Well being coverage can’t, nonetheless, be lowered to the system of medical care alone. It’s inseparable from working circumstances, vitamin, housing, and schooling; the character of social relationships; leisure and cultural behaviour; and quite a few different components that kind the idea upon which individuals’s bodily and psychological well being develop. The interrelationship between these components was already being mentioned in Germany throughout the early growth of capitalism. An instance of this was the work of the German doctor Rudolf Virchow (1821–1902), the founder of recent pathology and a pioneer of what was then known as ‘social hygiene’ (Sozialhygiene). This discipline, now related to the phrases social drugs or public well being, investigates the interplay between individuals’s well being and their social circumstances. Friedrich Engels, too, supplied proof of this connection in his early work on the situation of the working class in England.

‘All conceivable evils are heaped upon the heads of the poor. If the inhabitants of nice cities is just too dense usually, it’s they particularly who’re packed into the least area. […] They’re given damp dwellings, cellar dens that aren’t waterproof from beneath, or garrets that leak from above. Their homes are so constructed that the clammy air can’t escape. They’re equipped dangerous, tattered, or rotten clothes, adulterated and indigestible meals. […] And, in the event that they surmount all this, they fall sufferer to need of labor in a disaster when all of the little is taken from them that had hitherto been vouchsafed them.

How is it potential, beneath such circumstances, for the decrease class to be wholesome and lengthy lived? What else will be anticipated than extreme mortality, an unbroken collection of epidemics, a progressive deterioration within the physique of the working inhabitants?’

– Friedrich Engels, one of many founders of scientific socialism, 1845

Underneath capitalism, well being protections should be fought for in a continuing battle in opposition to financial pursuits. Public well being insurance policies are primarily decided by the personal sector and are more and more being reshaped by market forces. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically revealed the intense deficiencies and unsolved challenges of well being care techniques at this time. Many states lack clear, scientifically grounded decision-making buildings. Solidarity-driven cooperation inside and between states is blocked above all by personal financial pursuits. Deaths are shamelessly weighed in opposition to financial losses by political and enterprise leaders. All through the world, the residing and dealing circumstances of the bottom earners make them essentially the most weak to the pandemic. In lots of instances, they’re denied entry to vaccines and medicines. The safety of personal patent rights is prioritised over complete look after the individuals. The populations of the World South are left nearly totally empty-handed.

The general efficacy of well being care techniques within the World North is touted as a sign of their superiority, but their potential shouldn’t be totally exploited, neither is their efficacy due solely to financial power or optimistic medical traditions. As a substitute, it’s the decades-long battle of commerce unions and different democratic forces that has established minimal requirements and primary care. The identical forces have thereafter been compelled to defend these beneficial properties from the fixed pressures of the personal sector. Additional, the well being care techniques of wealthier states are bolstered by medical personnel who’ve been lured away from economically weaker nations. This – coupled with the continued exploitation of the World South – additional exacerbates unequal growth between the North and South. In the present day, the personal capitalist sector is consolidating its grip on well being care techniques, significantly in Western economies, main well being and sickness to grow to be more and more commodified and subordinated to profit-driven motives.

‘Well being care, as a substitute of being an accountable system, has grown right into a hodgepodge of company fiefdoms whose central goal is to maximise profitability for enterprise capital traders. A profit-oriented well being care system requires the doctor to behave as a sort of gatekeeper, deciding whether or not to grant or deny well being care. A profit-oriented well being care system is an oxymoron, a contradiction in phrases. As quickly as care serves revenue, it’s not true care’.

– Professor Bernard Lown (1921–2021), an American heart specialist and a co-founder of the Worldwide Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear Battle (IPPNW)

Since 1991, the proportion of personal hospitals and beds in Germany has elevated tremendously, persevering with a pattern of the rising commercialisation of inpatient care which started within the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, generally known as West Germany) within the mid-Nineteen Eighties. This growth gained further momentum in 2003 with the introduction of the US-inspired billing system based mostly on diagnosis-related teams. Underneath this method, hospital instances are categorised into completely different teams to establish the ‘merchandise’ that sufferers obtain and to find out cost. As such, choices concerning the remedy and size of hospital stays are more and more made on the idea of what will be billed profitably somewhat than on the idea of medical standards. The standard of well being care is thus being eroded, as remedy turns into ever extra depending on affected person revenue and public well being providers are slashed.

The antagonism between private-sector pursuits and complete well being look after all members of society had already been recognised within the early days of the German Democratic Republic (generally known as East Germany). All through its 40-year existence, the DDR was capable of assemble and advance a essentially completely different well being care system. From an preliminary place of nice financial drawback, the DDR got here to be ranked among the many 20 largest industrialised nations by way of financial manufacturing and residing requirements by the top of the Nineteen Eighties. The well-being of its 16 million inhabitants was mirrored by beneficial, even main values in keeping with sure World Well being Organisation measures such because the physician-to-population ratio, toddler mortality, and the discount of tuberculosis. This was regardless of the suboptimal structural situation of many well being amenities, the shortage of medical provides, and restrictions on the import of drugs and know-how – a lot of which was the results of financial sanctions imposed by the West.



Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Federal Republic of Germany]. Gesundheitsbericht für Deutschland [Germany’s Health Report]. Bonn: Statistisches Bundesamt, 1998; Deutsche Demokratische Republik [German Democratic Republic]. Statistische Jahrbücher der DDR [Statistical Yearbooks of the DDR]. Berlin: Staatsverlag der DDR, 1956–1991; World Financial institution Open Knowledge. ‘Mortality price, toddler (per 1,000 dwell births)’. The World Financial institution Group. Accessed 1 November 2022.


The DDR was capable of obtain important advances in well being care each as a result of affect of progressive traditions handed down from the 19th century and the Weimar Republic (1918–1933) and as a consequence of a radical transformation of the financial and political circumstances within the DDR. This transformation enabled the younger state to reorient the aims and construction of well being care round social ideas whereas additionally creating new socialist relations in and out of doors of the office that improved the inhabitants’s well being.

This examine assesses the DDR’s well being care system and traces a number of of its central components, inspecting the importance of the DDR’s socialist character within the building of a well being care system based mostly totally on preventive ideas. This endeavour didn’t proceed with out its difficulties and contradictions, and the insights gained from this technique of constructing an efficient, accessible well being care system inside the context of restricted financial assets can function a reference for struggles worldwide. The title, Socialism Is the Greatest Prophylaxis, pays tribute to a well known quote of Maxim Zetkin (1883–1965), a doctor, politician, and son of the worldwide girls’s rights activist and communist Clara Zetkin (1857–1933), that grew to become a slogan within the DDR. According to the main target of the DDR’s well being care system, this slogan refers back to the medical method often called prophylaxis that seeks to forestall illness earlier than it manifests.



Deutsche Demokratische Republik [German Democratic Republic]. Statistische Jahrbücher der DDR [The DDR’s Statistical Yearbooks]. Berlin: Staatsverlag der DDR, 1956–1991.


2. Historic Situations within the Years Previous the DDR

Devastating social and well being circumstances for the city proletariat arose in opposition to the background of industrialisation within the German Empire (1871–1918). After years of campaigning, revolutionary social democracy succeeded in introducing social medical insurance in 1883. Whereas then German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck is remembered because the founding father of state-organised social insurance coverage, it was the truth is the struggles of the working class that demanded and gained concessions from the federal government. Bismarck by no means made a secret of the truth that he sought to push again the political affect of the socialist labour motion. Throughout a session of the Reichstag, he remarked, ‘With out social democracy and with out the worry that it generates in an important many individuals, we’d not have made the modest social reforms that we needed to grant at this time’. The introduction of this medical insurance system helped to partially cowl the price of remedy, however inadequacies remained as working circumstances had not improved and the employees needed to pay two-thirds of the premiums. In consequence, self-organised well being care organisations such because the Employees’ Samaritan Federation (ASB) and the Proletarian Well being Service (PGD) emerged, complementing the work of the Social Democratic Social gathering of Germany (SPD) and the Communist Social gathering of Germany (KPD) respectively throughout the Weimar Republic. These organisations emphatically demanded the additional enlargement of public well being care.


Picture 1. The Proletarian Well being Service (PGD) was a self-organised well being service that operated from 1921 to 1926. It was explicitly political and continued the custom of public well being by, for example, supporting the vitamin of schoolchildren and the labour struggles to take care of the eight-hour day, particularly within the mining trade and chemical factories. It additional advocated for the socialisation of well being care and organised concrete, sensible help by offering well being care coaching and schooling, accident prevention, and first assist. The PGD additionally labored intently with the employees’ sports activities motion to advertise health.


After German fascism got here to energy in 1933, the Nazis started misusing drugs to implement their racist and anti-Semitic ideology in opposition to individuals whom they alleged had been inferior, committing crimes in opposition to humanity on an unprecedented scale. Following the unconditional defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, a catastrophic well being disaster hit the German inhabitants. The prevalence of epidemics, ailments, and accidents revealed how wars proceed to provide many casualties lengthy after the top of army fight. Hospitals, sanatoriums, and the whole well being care system had been destroyed in what then grew to become the Soviet Occupation Zone (SOZ). The availability of medicines collapsed, and epidemics unfold uncontrollably, intensified by a big inflow of refugees and resettled individuals arriving from Japanese Europe. Deaths from tuberculosis on this interval had been twice as excessive as they’d been previous to the conflict. Typhus, cholera, dysentery, venereal infections, and childhood ailments ravaged the inhabitants. The variety of medical doctors halved in comparison with pre-war ranges, and the coaching of recent physicians was interrupted by the closure of universities.

From the defeat of the Nazi regime in 1945 to the founding of the DDR in 1949, the well being insurance policies of the SOZ had been formed based mostly on 30 orders issued by the Soviet Army Administration (SMAD), which ruled the SOZ from the top of the Second World Battle till the DDR was established in 1949. The insurance policies had been then applied by the German Financial Fee (the central German administrative physique within the SOZ) together with the newly created Central Administration for Well being Care and the 5 regional governments in Japanese Germany. A direct query confronting the SMAD was learn how to take care of the medical doctors and different well being professionals who had supported the fascist system. Roughly 45 per cent of physicians had been Nazi Social gathering members, lots of them concerned in euthanasia and the opposite atrocities that happened in focus camps. Many of those people fled the SOZ, figuring out that they’d be handled extra leniently within the West. The medical doctors who stayed posed a politically and morally troublesome dilemma: enacting a blanket dismissal of well being professionals – as had been carried out amongst judges and academics for good purpose – was out of the query, if solely due to the well being disaster going through the nation. In consequence, medical doctors who had not been discovered responsible of any crimes had been allowed to proceed their work, and lots of of them later made themselves totally obtainable to the brand new well being system.

Examples of Soviet Army Administration well being coverage orders:

• 1945: Establishing the Central Well being Administration and the Well being Places of work (Order No. 17).

• 1946: Repealing the racist legal guidelines and different Nazi authorized provisions (No. 6) and passing an order to fight tuberculosis (No. 297).

• 1947: Introducing a uniform system of social insurance coverage (No. 28); establishing a office well being system (No. 234); and ordering the institution of outpatient centres and polyclinics (No. 272).

• Different orders had been involved with controlling particular person infectious ailments and establishing medical and scientific establishments.

Lots of the medical doctors and well being staff who had been entrusted with administrative positions within the SOZ’s normal administration had been those that had been engaged in resistance or had emigrated or been imprisoned beneath the Nazi regime. Their rapid duties had been dictated by the selections of the Allied powers within the Potsdam Settlement of 1945 and the newly legalised political events within the SOZ. The Socialist Unity Social gathering of Germany (SED) shaped in 1946, unifying the 2 working class events – the Communist Social gathering of Germany (KPD) and the Social Democratic Social gathering of Germany (SPD) – right into a single celebration within the SOZ and recognised the necessity for brand new well being buildings, particularly in outpatient care. When drafting social and well being coverage programmes for a brand new, democratic Germany, the authorities within the SOZ drew on the progressive calls for and experiences of the Weimar Republic interval.

‘For the reason that full growth of the well being service will solely be assured in a socialist society, there’s however a manner for democratic Germany as properly. […] That is the nationalisation of the well being service. Solely on this manner can physicians, having fun with economically safe positions in addition to assets assured by the state, dedicate themselves totally to their duties. Solely on this manner can the achievements of medical science be made obtainable to the whole inhabitants. […] The preservation of the well being and the productive capability of working individuals is without doubt one of the nation’s most vital duties and a prerequisite for reconstruction. […] Therefore, well being safety should be made a matter for the state and thus for the individuals as an entire. The goal should be one in all securing for everybody the safety of his or her well being as the idea of vitality and bodily health’.

– Well being coverage pointers of the Socialist Unity Social gathering of Germany (SED), March 1947

The duty was now to determine a functioning well being care system. This required nationalising well being care establishments and guaranteeing the fitting to well being care. Free medical remedy was supplied via a common well being care system, and the safety of well being was understood as a job for all sectors of society. Separating individuals’s medical wants from the personal pursuits of capital was a decisive, central thought in offering well being look after all; it was recognised that enterprise issues, significantly concerning freelance medical doctors working in personal practices, ran counter to the progressive growth of drugs. This remark had already been put forth by the League of Nations, a global affiliation of states based after the First World Battle and the forerunner of the United Nations.

The DDR’s rising well being care system was formed by the experiences of the Soviet Union and its well being system, the architects of which had themselves been impressed by the coverage positions of the German Left throughout the Weimar interval (1918–33). After the 1917 Russian Revolution and the Civil Battle (1917–22), the younger Soviet Union grew to become the primary state in world historical past to construct a well being care system that assured free, common well being care to the whole inhabitants, enshrining the fitting to free medical care within the Soviet Structure of 1936 as one of many basic rights of the Soviet individuals. Underneath the mannequin launched by Nikolai Semashko (the Individuals’s Commissar for Well being from 1918–30), medical amenities and providers had been utterly state funded and centrally managed, and a multilevel system of hospitals, specialty clinics, and sanatoria operated on the nationwide, regional, metropolis, and district ranges. Whereas elements of the Soviet mannequin influenced the transformation of the well being care system within the SOZ, it was not merely replicated. Among the methods through which the DDR’s system differed, for instance, had been the diploma of central organisation and the truth that it was not financed solely by the state.


3. The DDR’s Complete Method to Well being Care

‘Well being coverage within the DDR was understood as a totality of ideological, cultural, financial, social, and medical measures conceived of and practiced with various depth and high quality inside the public sphere. The goal was to assist form and optimise the environmental circumstances of peoples’ lives in a manner that each protects and fosters their well being. Sufferers had been to be handled and cared for utilizing the data and expertise of recent drugs. Life was to be steadily and progressively prolonged’.

– Ludwig Mecklinger, the DDR’s minister of well being from 1971 to 1989

The creation of socialist property relations was an important precondition for the DDR’s preventive method to well being care. Well being-related issues corresponding to working circumstances, housing, vitamin, and schooling may due to this fact be managed by the state and its democratic decision-making buildings. The great planning of publicly owned establishments made it potential to analyze and sort out on a regular basis well being dangers. On this endeavour, the DDR constructed upon the traditions of social drugs, which approached well being from a socio-political perspective and centered on the interplay between individuals’s welfare and their general residing and dealing circumstances. Particularly, the deal with preventive care within the office and for youngsters, together with a contemporary idea of outpatient care, demonstrated the built-in and holistic character of the DDR’s well being insurance policies.


Picture 2. A district well being inspector measures sound frequencies in a residential space with a purpose to develop strategies for decreasing noise air pollution. The medical fields of social, occupational, and communal well being had been answerable for monitoring and safeguarding the well being requirements of the inhabitants’s working and residing circumstances.


By organising well being care establishments as state-owned entities, the DDR overcame the separation discovered in lots of capitalist nations at this time between publicly funded well being providers and the massive, privately organised sector of outpatient and hospital care. The elimination of personal types of possession enabled the mixing of preventive, therapeutic, and aftercare measures that yielded higher outcomes for sufferers. Moreover, the nation’s quite a few and numerous medical establishments – from hospitals and clinics to pharmacies and analysis centres – may now cooperate with each other as a part of a unified community led by the Ministry of Well being.



How the DDR’s well being care system was organised on the nationwide degree. Supply: Niemann, Heinrich (former specialist in social drugs within the DDR and district councillor for well being in Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Berlin). In dialogue with the authors. 2 June 2021. IF DDR workplace, Berlin.


The hospital community within the DDR was steadily expanded to enhance accessibility for residents all through the nation. The tiered system, made up of the communal, municipal, and regional administrative divisions, sought to offer primary care in municipal hospitals, whereas specialised remedy can be administered in regional hospitals or nationwide establishments and universities. Previous to the Second World Battle, church buildings performed a major function in sustaining and working hospitals all through Germany. Moderately than dismantling these buildings, the DDR labored with the clergy to make sure that emergency well being care can be obtainable in all areas of the nation. Thus, of the 539 hospitals in East Germany in 1989, 75 remained beneath the jurisdiction of church buildings, although they too had been built-in into the state’s planning system.

The DDR additionally sought to beat the traditionally uneven distribution of medical doctors throughout rural and concrete areas. After commencement, each doctor obtained each their licence to observe and safe paid employment and was required to work for a number of years in an space the place medical doctors had been significantly scarce based mostly on a dedication made at the start of their research. This coverage, known as the steering of graduates (Absolventenlenkung), was the DDR’s answer to a significant issue that also besets many nations at this time.

‘There got here some extent after we had been informed: “ You will have dedicated your self to serve the place society wants you”. Many who studied in Berlin then tried the whole lot potential to remain in Berlin to keep away from going to Cottbus or Bitterfeld, for instance, into the brown coal district, into the filth. I stated to myself: “Effectively, these are individuals who have a proper to satisfactory medical care. They shouldn’t be deserted there, so I’ll do it”. For me, it was fulfilling a promise that I had made in return for having the ability to examine freed from cost. We even obtained a scholarship that allowed us to check with out monetary difficulties. Such an obligation doesn’t contradict my understanding of equity in any manner, even at this time. It was completely acceptable to me’.

– Dr. Rüdiger Feltz, a working towards neurosurgeon

To finance its well being care system, the DDR launched a broad social safety scheme that lined well being, accident, and pension insurance coverage and was managed by the employees themselves via the Free German Commerce Union Federation. This built-in, state-organised mannequin changed the fragmented and profit-oriented insurance coverage techniques that also function in lots of capitalist nations at this time. People within the DDR paid as much as 10 per cent of their month-to-month wages to the scheme, although contributions had been capped at 60 Marks per 30 days for staff. Enterprises then matched the contributions of their workers, and extra state subsidies lined any shortfalls.

The political weight given to well being care within the DDR can be illustrated by the nation’s intensive laws on this problem. The common proper to well being care no matter one’s social scenario (which had already been anchored within the DDR’s first structure in 1949) was enshrined within the two subsequent constitutions of 1968 and 1974. The DDR thereby realised Article 25 of the UN Common Declaration of Human Rights, which states that each human being has ‘the fitting to a way of life satisfactory for well being and well-being […] together with meals, clothes, housing, medical care, and essential social providers and the fitting to safety within the occasion of unemployment, illness, incapacity, widowhood, previous age, or different lack of livelihood in circumstances past his management’.

Article 35 of the DDR’s 1968 Structure:

(1) Each citizen of the German Democratic Republic shall have the fitting to the safety of his or her well being and labour energy.
(2) This proper shall be assured via the deliberate enchancment of working and residing circumstances; the fostering of public well being; the implementation of complete welfare insurance policies; and the promotion of bodily exercise, college and widespread sports activities, and tourism.
(3) Within the occasion of sickness or accident, the lack of revenue and the prices of medical care, medicines, and different medical providers shall be supplied via a social insurance coverage system.

The DDR assured not solely primary health-related rights and duties within the sphere of medical care, but in addition within the spheres of labor and schooling. Equal rights for ladies in addition to well being safety for youngsters, youth, and the aged had been additionally codified. This included internationally counseled laws that decriminalised gay acts in 1968 (although they’d already been exempt from authorized prosecution because the Nineteen Fifties) and legalised abortion in 1972. Different important statutes included the introduction of state legal responsibility for well being damages brought on by medical procedures (1987) and the ‘dissent answer’ for organ transplants (1975), which established a presumed consent mannequin for organ donation that required people to decide out.



Niemann, Heinrich (former specialist in social drugs within the DDR and district councillor for well being in Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Berlin). In dialogue with the authors. 2 June 2021. IF DDR workplace, Berlin.


The DDR’s well being care system was a extremely complicated sector that was steadily and systematically developed over the course of 4 a long time, using practically 600,000 individuals – roughly 7 per cent of the entire workforce – by 1989. Along with hospitals and outpatient clinics, this sector included medical instructing and analysis amenities; specialist institutes; emergency providers; scientific societies; medical publishers and journals; well being schooling amenities; and, final however not least, an intensive pharmaceutical trade. With 13 enterprises, three analysis institutes, and roughly 15,000 workers, the Kombinat GERMED – that means ‘mix’, a form of socialist company – produced some 1,300 completely different medical merchandise, assembly 80–90 per cent of the DDR’s pharmaceutical wants whereas additionally exporting medical merchandise to the Soviet Union and different socialist nations. The home demand for medicines was communicated to suppliers not via market forces however via the calculations of district pharmacists. Pharmacists, like physicians, had been free from profit-oriented issues of their work, and medicines had been supplied freed from cost to all residents. Shut collaboration between pharmacists and physicians enabled them to tailor affected person care and alter medicines if provide shortages occurred.


Picture 3. In 1950, there have been 1,694 pharmacies within the DDR, of which 1,266 had been privately owned. By 1989, there have been 24 personal pharmacies and a couple of,002 public pharmacies managed by the Ministry of Well being. Every of the DDR’s 15 areas was overseen by a head physician and head pharmacist. On the district degree, native pharmacists had been answerable for monitoring the distribution of drugs in keeping with unified requirements.


4. Contradictions and Challenges

The event of the DDR’s well being care system was not free from conflicts and challenges. Contradictions between the nation’s well being care aims and its financial capability meant that acknowledged objectives and aspirations couldn’t at all times be achieved. Well being insurance policies mirrored each the financial difficulties going through the nation and shifts in political priorities. For instance, when the Unity of Financial and Social Coverage was launched in 1971 to extend entry to shopper items and providers, the well being sector initially benefited from additional funding. But this shift in funding coverage away from the commercial sector created imbalances within the deliberate economic system that had been in the end felt within the well being sector, too. This was obvious, for example, within the put on and tear on hospitals and the shortage of sure medical provides and tools, which made well being staff’ each day duties harder. In its closing years, the DDR was not capable of import trendy medical know-how developed in Western industrialised nations to the extent wanted, partially as a result of embargo imposed by the West. Whereas progressive diagnostic and therapeutic strategies enabled the DDR to make progress in opposition to sure ailments that had beforehand confirmed troublesome or inconceivable to deal with by standard strategies, these efforts had been usually hampered by an absence of apparatus.

Within the Nineteen Eighties, bottlenecks within the provide of supplies in addition to differing views on learn how to sort out pressing well being points led to intensified coverage debates. The preventive method to care and the conviction that every one social sectors had a task to play in public well being remained decisive underpinnings of presidency insurance policies. But, disputes arose across the query of which disease-causing circumstances may and must be prioritised. As an illustration, at occasions there was an emphasis positioned on measures that sought to vary unhealthy behaviours with a purpose to fight issues corresponding to weight problems, alcohol abuse, and a rise in smoking amongst the youth. This method of specializing in particular person behaviours that contribute to well being points was criticised by social drugs specialists, who as a substitute centered on bettering the inhabitants’s general residing and dealing circumstances. Such debates reveal that on a regular basis difficulties and strategic questions had been open to political dialogue, which frequently happened in bimonthly regional physicians’ conferences and biannual municipal physicians’ conferences, amongst different venues.

The West’s hostility in direction of the DDR affected the event of its well being system in some ways, exerting an ideological, political, and financial affect on the DDR’s well being staff and buildings. This had a very notable impression on the nation’s entry to medical and technical materials in addition to worldwide analysis initiatives. As well as, West Germany actively poached East German medical doctors by encouraging them emigrate westward. Physicians who had loved cost-free schooling and coaching within the DDR had been drawn to the West by higher pay or by their reluctance to take part within the social transformations underway within the East. This dynamic impacted the DDR from the outset: the exodus of medical doctors following the Second World Battle was so huge that it could have required at the least 5 further graduating lessons of all DDR medical colleges to compensate for the loss. This was just like the scenario in Cuba, the place – aside from medical doctors like Che Guevara who dedicated themselves to the revolution – many medical doctors left the island for america after 1959. This phenomenon of ‘mind drain’ – through which physicians and different extremely educated or expert professionals to migrate from these nations the place they’re most wanted – and its penalties for the World South are usually disregarded or bought as a optimistic facet of globalisation.

Till the border between East and West Germany was closed in 1961, the DDR was additionally pursuing its pioneering well being programme in ‘competitors’ with the FRG, which preserved the personal observe mannequin and intentionally used excessive salaries and privileges to incentivise well-trained medical doctors to depart East Germany. The DDR was thus confronted with the identical issue that confronted the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution: how may the specialised professionals and intelligentsia, who had been privileged beneath capitalism, be gained over to the development of socialism? Given the excessive ranges of emigration, the SED determined to make concessions to the medical intelligentsia within the late Nineteen Fifties, utilising materials incentives to encourage medical doctors to work and dwell within the DDR. Regardless of these challenges, additional shifts away from personal practices to public employment prevailed within the following years. Though a number of thousand medical doctors left the DDR earlier than the Wall was in-built 1961, by 1988 the variety of physicians within the nation (round 41,000) had greater than tripled since 1949, placing the DDR’s physician-to-population ratio on par with the opposite industrialised states in Europe.



Deutsche Demokratische Republik [German Democratic Republic]. Statistische Jahrbücher der DDR [Statistical Yearbooks of the DDR]. Berlin: Staatsverlag der DDR, 1956–1991; Rahlf, Thomas, ed. Deutschland in Daten [Germany in Data]. Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2015; World Financial institution Open Knowledge. ‘Physicians (per 1,000 individuals)’. The World Financial institution Group. Accessed 1 November 2022.


Because the experiences of the DDR and different socialist states have revealed, the societal transition past capitalism is rarely a easy linear growth. Setting up a complete and people-oriented well being care system can’t occur in a single day. Radical transformations should contend not solely with a rustic’s financial limitations, but in addition with conventional conceptions of social roles and standing. The size of the mind drain from the DDR, for example, led the federal government to make sure compromises in its mission to interrupt the intelligentsia’s long-held monopoly of the medical career. When drawing classes for the longer term, we can’t isolate such compromises and shortcomings from their historic context. That’s what differentiates constructive and progressive analyses from people who merely search to smear and deride socialism.


5. The Polyclinic: A Fashionable Method to Outpatient Care


5.1 From Non-public Apply to Polyclinics

Underneath the capitalist mannequin of well being care, outpatient care is often supplied by impartial medical doctors in particular person personal practices which can be scattered all through cities and cities. Progressive medical traditions have, nonetheless, lengthy criticised this mannequin as having two important limitations. Firstly, self-employed medical doctors are economically depending on sick sufferers in search of out remedy. That’s, they’re financially incentivised to not forestall illness however to deal with signs after they manifest. Secondly, the speedy advance of science has significantly improved medical diagnostics and remedy capabilities, however these new strategies require entry to the most recent know-how and experience. Since particular person practices can’t home the various tools and employees demanded by trendy drugs, sufferers are referred to separate specialists or diagnostic centres, usually creating inefficiencies and discrepancies in diagnoses. Within the DDR, polyclinics had been developed to beat these points in outpatient care.

Because the title implies, polyclinics had been amenities through which a number of medical specialties collaborated beneath one roof to forestall and deal with all kinds of ailments. Extra particularly, polyclinics had been outlined as publicly owned outpatient amenities containing at the least the next six specialist departments: inside drugs, oral drugs, gynaecology, surgical procedure, paediatrics, and normal drugs. Many polyclinics additionally housed scientific diagnostic laboratories, physiotherapy departments, and medical imaging amenities. As well as, polyclinics embodied the conviction that, to be efficient, outpatient medical care needed to be severed from private financial issues. Physicians and employees working in polyclinics had been publicly employed and thus free of their conventional financial dependencies on the sick. With a secured place and an affordable revenue, medical doctors may focus initially on preventive care.

It was once more the transition away from personal possession that enabled this basic reorientation of the outpatient sector, which performs an vital if not decisive function within the capability of a well being care system to serve the whole inhabitants. Efficient outpatient care ensures that the medical assist individuals want is immediately and quickly obtainable the place they dwell, from prevention and remedy to aftercare and rehabilitation, which helps to minimise inpatient stays in hospitals and ideally prevents sickness within the first place. The clustering of medical departments, know-how, and laboratories beneath one roof helped to beat bureaucratic and monetary obstacles that plagued personal practices. On the identical time, this design facilitated simpler collaboration between medical professionals from completely different fields.

‘Doesn’t […] the actual freedom of the doctor consist in the truth that they’re given the means to safe the well being of every particular person citizen with out limitation? By increase the state well being system, physicians are not economically desirous about individuals falling unwell; they’ll as a substitute genuinely act because the guardians and preservers of well being’.

–Speech on the Nationwide Well being Convention in Weimar, 1960

Smaller establishments embodying the identical method because the polyclinic had been referred to as outpatient centres (Ambulatorien) and sometimes housed at the least three completely different departments: normal drugs, inside drugs, and paediatrics. Greater than a 3rd of the outpatient amenities had been affiliated with hospitals and college clinics to advertise medical collaboration. Session centres and state-owned particular person practices operated in additional distant places however had been organisationally linked to polyclinics for assist.

Remodeling the outpatient sector introduced distinctive challenges each by way of infrastructural necessities and the brand new roles of well being care staff, not like the hospital system, which had an extended historical past of public possession. There was, for example, appreciable scepticism and even resistance to the concept of polyclinics amongst physicians. The novel thought of publicly using medical specialists to work collectively beneath one roof sharply contrasted with the deeply rooted self-perception of the ‘freelance’ physician who works for him or herself.

A number of forerunners of enormous medical complexes served as inspiration to the DDR’s polyclinic system, such because the Home of Well being in Berlin, constructed in 1923 throughout the Weimar Republic. Architects of the DDR’s Bauakademie (Academy of Civil Engineering) started to develop and refine comparable tasks within the Nineteen Fifties beneath the management of then President Kurt Liebknecht. When the DDR’s immense housing building programme was introduced within the early Seventies, it specified that polyclinics or outpatient centres had been to be integrated into the brand new estates. Bigger polyclinics had been in-built Berlin in addition to in different large cities, every staffed with upwards of fifty medical doctors.

Conservative physicians’ associations had already begun systematically opposing calls to determine polyclinics throughout the Weimar period, they usually resumed this offensive after the top of the conflict in 1945. The DDR’s policymakers sought to display some great benefits of the brand new mannequin by increasing the technical capabilities and laboratories in polyclinics. This was a gradual course of; for a few years, personal practices continued to offer a big portion of outpatient care.



Deutsche Demokratische Republik [German Democratic Republic]. Statistische Jahrbücher der DDR [Statistical Yearbooks of the DDR]. Berlin: Staatsverlag der DDR, 1956–1991.


It in the end proved potential to steadily win over medical professionals to the idea of the polyclinic: by 1970, solely 18 per cent of outpatient physicians had been in personal observe, in comparison with properly over 50 per cent in 1955. The speedy building of environment friendly outpatient amenities all through the nation made the numerous sensible benefits of the brand new system evident. The distinction between outpatient well being care in East and West Germany steadily widened over the 4 a long time following the founding of the DDR: by 1989, the overwhelming majority of West German outpatient medical doctors had been nonetheless working in personal practices, whereas nearly all of their East German counterparts had been publicly employed by that point.


5.2 The Operation of Polyclinics

Physicians and employees working in polyclinics had been employed and remunerated by the state, eradicating private financial motives from the doctor-patient relationship and the medical decision-making course of. In distinction to personal practices, polyclinics established unbureaucratic cooperation between particular person specialties. Underneath capitalist well being care techniques, self-employed outpatient physicians have usually been (and sometimes nonetheless are) solely answerable for medical choices, whereas the collaborative buildings in polyclinics made it simpler for specialists throughout completely different disciplines to debate sophisticated instances or, for example, the prescription of recent medicines and suggestions for brand new varieties of remedy. This interdisciplinary collaboration additionally supplied a framework through which the connection and communication between preventive, therapeutic, and aftercare measures may very well be strengthened and introduced nearer collectively. Laboratory and medical imaging providers may very well be requested instantly and had been normally obtainable inside a short while and even throughout the session itself. Polyclinics had been additionally capable of home superior medical tools, primarily as a result of widespread utilization was cheaper than particular person use in personal practices, and a uniform submitting system for affected person information was maintained to cut back inefficiency and miscommunication between specialists.

On common, polyclinics staffed 18 to 19 physicians, which allowed them to increase hours of operation and proceed to offer care even when particular person medical doctors had been sick or on vacation, not like in personal practices. As well as, this allowed physicians to offer extra intensive care to their sufferers, as they may couple their regular session hours with on-site visits. Paediatricians, for example, had been capable of conduct common check-ups in childcare centres whereas different medical doctors took cost of walk-in consultations in polyclinics.

‘The truth that a health care provider at all times has to fret about learn how to safe their revenue and relies on sick individuals coming to them can’t be the answer. One other answer should be discovered. Specifically, to grasp medical doctors as well-paid workers of the state who can conduct their duties independently of their revenue. That was one of many primary concepts within the DDR. A second was that the trendy growth of science not corresponds to the mannequin of personal observe. I would like buildings the place I can entry the laboratory, X-ray machines, and specialists. These two primary concepts led to the gradual creation of polyclinics, or outpatient centres. It was an extended course of, and one which confronted resistance’.

–Dr. Heinrich Niemann, a specialist in social drugs and former policymaker

The brand new mannequin of employment in outpatient care significantly improved the collegial environment within the well being sector. Workers had been assured mounted working hours, in-house well being care, communally organised meals, and joint vacation amenities for themselves and their households. Importantly, physicians, assistants, and nurses had been all employed as employees members; they had been handled equally in accordance with labour legal guidelines and had been organised inside the identical commerce union. These measures steadily helped erode skilled hierarchies.


Picture 4. Dr. Heinrich Niemann remembers: ‘Firstly of the Nineteen Eighties, the massive Dr. Karl Kollwitz Polyclinic was constructed within the working-class district of Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin. The medical doctors who had already been working there in personal practices didn’t go into polyclinics with flying colors. In fact, they knew that the second they labored in such a big facility, a special mode of operation, a brand new manner of working collectively can be essential. […] But, that is the one manner {that a} unity will be established between therapeutic, rehabilitative, and preventive measures. Nonetheless at this time, a personal observe can solely obtain this to a restricted extent’.


5.3 An Overview of the Outpatient Sector

Outpatient care was a central part of the DDR’s preventive method to drugs, and its enlargement and success in making certain that all residents obtained medical protection not solely throughout emergencies however all through the course of their lives arguably represents essentially the most revolutionary facet of the nation’s well being care system. With a view to obtain this, an unlimited community of infrastructure was developed in neighbourhoods, workplaces, childcare centres, and rural places. By means of public possession and the deliberate nature of the economic system, it grew to become potential to form residing and dealing circumstances round well being issues.



Deutsche Demokratische Republik [German Democratic Republic]. Statistische Jahrbücher der DDR [The DDR’s Statistical Yearbooks]. Berlin: Staatsverlag der DDR, 1956–1991.


By 1989, this community was made up of 13,690 outpatient amenities, 626 of which had been polyclinics. Roughly one in 4 of those polyclinics operated inside industrial enterprises, utilizing the office as a website to offer constant, high quality, and accessible healthcare to the labour power. Of the just about 19,000 medical doctors working within the outpatient sector by 1980, 60 per cent had been employed in polyclinics, 18.5 per cent within the smaller outpatient centres, and simply 11 per cent in particular person medical practices.


Picture 5. Group nursing was a extremely expert and valued career. The nurses had been properly acquainted with the residents of their area and carried out vital medical providers throughout home visits corresponding to finishing up examinations, dressing wounds, administering medicines and injections, and arranging for a health care provider’s help when essential.


With a view to prolong preventive care to rural areas and scattered villages, rural outpatient centres had been constructed and staffed with as much as three medical doctors, with the variety of these amenities rising from 250 in 1953 to 433 by 1989. In lots of cities, physicians labored in public medical practices or quickly staffed discipline workplaces to offer residents with session hours and residential visits, whereas cell dental clinics visited distant villages to offer all kids with preventive care. As well as, the career of the group nurse was developed within the early Nineteen Fifties to alleviate the preliminary scarcity of medical doctors within the countryside, with the variety of group nurses increasing from 3,571 in 1953 to five,585 by 1989. This intensive rural infrastructure helped to offer much less densely populated areas with medical providers corresponding to what was obtainable in city areas.

‘There was no separation between care work and social work in group nursing, so it was a totally logical growth for the nurses that social providers grew to become a part of the well being sector in 1958. […] In villages the place there was no physician, the group nurse was answerable for the whole lot associated to well being, social, and hygiene issues. Some grew to become members of the native council, and some grew to become deputy mayors’.

–Dr. Horst Rocholl, a former municipal doctor

The DDR’s revolution in outpatient care went past the development of infrastructure. Complete reform was additionally carried out within the instructional system to interrupt down conventional limitations and hierarchies within the discipline. This included, amongst different measures:

      • Offering tuition-free schooling and glued stipends to cowl college students’ residing prices and be sure that drugs grew to become accessible to the working class and peasantry.
      • Implementing socio-political measures corresponding to complete childcare and distance schooling programmes to make medical professions extra accessible to girls, who, from the late Seventies onwards, usually made up greater than 50 per cent of medical college students within the nation.
      • Turning nursing and caretaking into extremely certified and revered professions via intensive tutorial coaching programmes.
      • Making greater schooling in medical specialties obtainable to all physicians.

Nonetheless, after 1990, the FRG’s personal observe mannequin was rigorously imposed on East Germany, undoing the DDR’s achievements within the outpatient sector. Whereas many East German professionals had been stripped of their credentials after the DDR was integrated into the FRG, nobody dared to noticeably query the {qualifications} of East German well being professionals: in instances the place they had been barred from working towards, the motive was nearly at all times political. Moreover, the liquidation of the polyclinic system represented ‘the best blunder in well being coverage’ after unification, as Dr. Heinrich Niemann argued earlier than the Well being Committee of the German Parliament in 1991 – an evaluation corroborated by the precarious state of the well being system in Germany at this time. Whereas the FRG made it potential within the late Nineteen Nineties for outpatient medical doctors to work as workers somewhat than freelancers, these clinics are nearly solely beneath personal possession and lack a unified construction, and their industrial orientation marks a major regression from the built-in and publicly funded outpatient amenities of the DDR.


6. Defending Well being within the Office

In East Germany, staff’ well being was given nice significance from the very starting. In 1947, throughout the interval through which Germany was nonetheless occupied by the 4 Allied powers, the Soviet Army Administration issued Order No. 234, which stipulated that workplaces with greater than 200 workers had been to arrange medical stations, whereas these with greater than 5,000 workers had been to determine enterprise polyclinics. Inside three years, 36 enterprise polyclinics had been arrange, and by 1989, they numbered greater than 150. The enterprises themselves had been answerable for sustaining the rooms, furnishings, and working prices of those well being amenities whereas the state well being system supplied and oversaw the medical employees and tools. This level represents a decisive distinction to the occupational well being care that’s supplied in some personal firms at this time: within the DDR, the medical professionals overseeing occupational well being and security had been employed by the general public well being system, not the enterprise inside which they labored. As such, it was the pursuits of the employees, not the employers, that guided their medical choices.

Within the DDR’s first structure in 1949, authorized protections for staff’ well being had been laid out alongside the intensive social insurance coverage system. Within the subsequent constitutions in 1968 and 1974, these protections had been expanded, and their implementation was overseen by the employees themselves: the Free German Commerce Union Federation, current in all enterprises and establishments of the DDR, was tasked with monitoring the enforcement of authorized provisions and reporting on their results. By legislation, the office represented way more than merely a supply of revenue. Enterprises supplied the framework through which workers may pursue cultural and mental pursuits alongside leisure actions. Employees’ brigades had been inspired to attend cultural and sporting occasions, talk about political developments, and go to vacation camps maintained by the enterprises. The DDR’s Labour Code of 1977, for example, contained clauses to guard and promote each the bodily and psychological well being of workers. This laws additional demonstrates that the interests of working individuals decided the route of the economic system.

The DDR’s Labour Code of 1977

§ 2 (4) Labour legislation is aimed toward bettering, in a deliberate method, the working and residing circumstances of workers within the enterprises: particularly, to increase well being safety; to boost labour energy; to enhance social, well being, mental and cultural programmes; and to extend the employees’ alternatives for significant leisure time and recreation. It ensures working individuals materials safety within the case of sickness, incapacity, and previous age.
§ 17 (1) Enterprises as outlined by this legislation are all state-owned institutions and combines in addition to socialist cooperatives.
§ 74 (3) The enterprise shall systematically cut back hazardous working circumstances and restrict the quantity of bodily troublesome and monotonous work.
§ 201 (1) It shall be the obligation of the enterprise to make sure the safety of the well being and labour energy of working individuals primarily by organising and sustaining protected working circumstances which can be free from hardship and conducive to well being and effectivity.
§ 207 Employees who’re to undertake work which is bodily demanding or hazardous to well being shall be medically examined freed from cost earlier than employment and at common intervals in accordance with laws.
§ 293 (1) The supervision of occupational well being in enterprises shall be performed by the Free German Commerce Union Federation (FDGB) via well being and security inspections.

As with the outpatient sector, the system of occupational well being was steadily expanded. By 1989, it lined 7.5 million staff from 21,550 enterprises, or 87.4 per cent of all working individuals within the DDR. Establishments particularly devoted to this discipline – corresponding to polyclinics, outpatient centres, and medical stations working inside enterprises – employed some 19,000 well being care professionals. Occupational drugs was additionally established as a serious discipline of examine, with roughly one out of seven outpatient medical doctors specialising on this discipline. The Central Institute for Occupational Medication employed physicians and scientists to analysis work-related sicknesses and develop preventive measures, and the significance that this sector carried within the DDR is evidenced by the truth that the FRG had solely half as many occupational well being specialists, regardless of the West German labour power being 3 times bigger than its equal within the East.

In sure professions, workers had been uncovered to hazardous substances and/or significantly arduous bodily circumstances. Well being officers campaigned to cut back the variety of such jobs, and enterprises had been obliged to report on the measures they had been taking to fight dangerous circumstances. But, in sure sectors of the East German economic system, corresponding to heavy trade, manufacturing processes posed unavoidable threats to staff’ well being. By 1989, roughly 1.69 million staff remained uncovered to dangerous pollution and stresses corresponding to extreme warmth, noise, or vibrations. To attenuate the accidents that usually resulted from such jobs, the DDR supplied focused care to uncovered staff. Of the 7.5 million staff monitored beneath the occupational well being system in 1989, roughly 3.34 million obtained care that was tailor-made to the precise circumstances through which they labored. For instance, common listening to assessments had been performed for these working in building, whereas common lung examinations had been performed for these employed in chemical vegetation. Alongside these measures, specialist occupational well being inspectorates monitored enterprises’ compliance with security requirements and specified limits for dangerous substances or work stresses.


Picture 6. An occupational well being inspection measures noise, temperature, humidity, and lighting circumstances. In 1981, a strict obligation was positioned on enterprises to report on the circumstances of high-risk workplaces and to take measures to cut back these dangers. Collectively, these stories created a strong database via which affected workers may very well be monitored, protected, and supplied with focused care. The info was additionally used to exert better strain on politicians and enterprises to cut back and, if potential, forestall the dangerous unintended effects of labor.


The sector of occupational well being was significantly vital within the context of the FRG’s commerce embargo, which brought about the DDR to rely closely on the one power supply available in East Germany: brown coal, a lignite-based substance that emits appreciable air pollution when burned. This financial necessity, alongside shortfalls in technical modernisation in some enterprises, led to particular exemptions being permitted concerning dangerous exposures in some workplaces. Occupational well being and security thus grew to become a contentious discipline as officers debated which priorities must be set. Ludwig Mecklinger, the DDR’s minister of well being from 1971 to 1989, recognised this dilemma, stating that well being insurance policies had been inevitably restricted by financial requirements and exterior components.

Work-related psychological stress was one other key problem within the DDR and have become the main target of the sector of occupational psychology. Right here, important findings had been made by the scholar Winfried Hacker, who centered his analysis on the psychological regulation of labour exercise within the context of socialist society, the place the better satisfaction of individuals’s wants requires elevated labour productiveness. In response to Hacker, work must be designed in such a manner that not solely maintains staff’ well being, but in addition fosters their psychological growth: work that’s uninteresting and indifferent from staff’ lived realities will result in alienation, whereas a wholesome relationship with work should be multi-dimensional and permit staff to develop each themselves and the merchandise of their labour on the identical time. To discover these concepts, Hacker and his group of researchers developed strategies to establish goal traits within the office that positively impacted well being and psychological growth and to measure how they affected subjective perceptions. Though Hacker’s proposals weren’t applied on a big scale, his analysis set the usual in occupational psychology. Hacker’s work differed from the predominant approaches to occupational psychology beneath capitalism, which prioritise rising the effectivity of labor processes somewhat than the event of workers’ well being and psychological state.

In the present day, the weakening of commerce union energy and the rise of precarious employment has led to a deterioration in working circumstances in most capitalist states. Whereas there have been advances within the manufacturing processes themselves, new well being burdens are consistently rising, significantly in reference to digital workplaces, together with agriculture and meals industries. As such, the significance of occupational well being has solely elevated, and the experiences of the DDR on this discipline stay related not solely from a medical viewpoint, but in addition by demonstrating {that a} essentially completely different method to well being safety within the office is feasible.


7. Well being Take care of Moms and Youngsters

In East Germany, girls loved entry to first-rate well being care, complete childcare, and assured employment. These social achievements meant that by 1989, the employment price amongst girls had reached 92 per cent. On the identical time, from the Seventies, East Germany additionally had the next start price than the West largely due the continual enlargement of the nation’s social and well being infrastructure, which enabled girls to each pursue employment and lift a wholesome household.

The event of this infrastructure was established within the DDR’s laws, which proved to be constantly extra progressive than within the FRG, the place patriarchal legal guidelines mirrored bourgeois familial ideas such because the stay-at-home mom. The DDR’s 1950 Regulation on Mom and Youngster Safety and the Rights of Ladies, for example, prescribed an intensive enlargement of day care and well being care amenities for youngsters, explicitly supporting single and dealing moms. Whereas in 1956 solely 10 per cent of kids attended childcare amenities, by 1990 practically 80 per cent of eligible kids attended a crèche (from the age of 0 to three) and 94 per cent attended kindergartens (from ages of three to six). On the time, these had been a number of the highest charges of childcare protection on this planet. Ladies’s committees inside commerce unions had been instrumental in introducing and overseeing new legal guidelines to handle the necessity to stability household and work obligations. One outcome, for instance, was the institution of enterprise kindergartens immediately linked to the office. By means of the socialisation of childcare obligations, moms had been capable of work whereas additionally elevating kids and thus develop financial independence from their companions. This was mirrored in East Germany’s divorce price, which remained considerably greater than within the FRG all through the DDR’s 40-year existence. This pattern was dramatically reversed after 1990, when girls’s employment ranges fell sharply within the former DDR.

Childcare amenities additionally performed a central function within the well being insurance policies of the DDR. These establishments had been actively monitored by the Ministry of Well being and, within the case of crèches, even positioned immediately beneath its duty somewhat than that of the Ministry of Training. This made it potential to create built-in social and well being requirements to additional kids’s wellbeing, corresponding to common paediatric visits to crèches to hold out vaccinations and periodic medical check-ups performed immediately in kindergartens and colleges, making well being care an integral a part of kids’s on a regular basis lives. On this manner, sustaining good well being and detecting potential well being points grew to become a social duty that was not left to oldsters alone.

In 1965, the Regulation on the Unified Socialist Training System made well being a central pillar of schooling and laid out qualification necessities for personnel in crèches, kindergartens, and colleges. Youngster psychology and pedagogy had been emphasised in coaching programmes for crèche personnel. Early childhood growth was acutely noticed by educators to evaluate, for example, kids’s adaptation to their familial and social atmosphere. When essential, crèche personnel organized for consultations with dad and mom to debate sensible suggestions for on a regular basis care. The Skilled Paediatric Affiliation (Medizinischen Fachgesellschaft für Pädiatrie) additionally convened common interdisciplinary working teams along with childcare personnel to evaluate the state of crèches and kindergartens. These teams drew up coverage proposals and legislative amendments in addition to solutions for pilot tasks.


Picture 7. Within the DDR, strict norms had been developed and enforced to make sure applicable pedagogical strategies, infrastructure, and open areas at kids’s amenities. New housing developments, such because the one in Rostock featured right here, had been required to incorporate massive open areas for youngsters.


Along with offering free childcare to all households, the DDR strove to interrupt down cultural taboos and promote the well being of girls and youngsters, no matter their circumstances. The 1965 Household Code, for example, eradicated the discriminatory authorized class of ‘kids born out of wedlock’ whereas emphasising the function of each dad and mom in elevating a baby. The 1972 Regulation on the Termination of Being pregnant additionally contributed to girls’s self-determination and household planning by introducing free and authorized entry to contraceptives and abortions inside the first 12 weeks of being pregnant. In distinction, the structure of the Federal Republic of Germany accommodates a clause criminalising abortion to this present day, and, since 1976, girls have been required to attend a obligatory counselling session with a purpose to obtain an exemption.

Pregnant girls within the DDR had been assured complete pre- and post-natal consultations to help and monitor moms and their kids. By 1989, there have been greater than 850 being pregnant session centres all through the nation to information expectant moms in medical and social questions. After start, some 9,700 maternity session centres repeatedly examined infants and assisted the dad and mom of their new roles. Periodic medical examinations then accompanied kids all the best way to maturity. Importantly, dental care was additionally built-in into preventive screenings in kindergartens and colleges, once more in distinction to most well being techniques at this time through which dental well being shouldn’t be publicly assured and is as a substitute left to the monetary assets and discretion of oldsters. Taken collectively, these buildings and insurance policies helped to make sure that household planning and childhood growth may unfold independently of financial issues.


Picture 8. A paediatrician carries out an examination in a rural outpatient clinic. Along with the early detection of well being abnormalities, the evaluation of a kid’s preparedness for varsity was additionally a part of the preventive screenings. Confidential documentation of all such examinations and findings on well being and growth accompanied kids from start to commencement.


8. Vaccination Methods

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the inequalities and inefficiencies of vaccination manufacturing and distribution within the capitalist world at this time. On the one hand, mental property rights have been prioritised over public well being, resulting in vaccination apartheid through which nations within the World North have amassed sufficient doses to vaccinate their populations 3 times over, whereas most states within the South are prevented from reproducing these identical vaccines themselves. If it weren’t for South-South cooperation headed by nations corresponding to Cuba and China, vaccination charges in poorer states can be far decrease than they already are. Then again, in a twist of irony, the identical states stockpiling vaccines within the World North struggled to persuade 1 / 4 or perhaps a third of their populations of the efficacy and safeness of immunisation in opposition to COVID-19.

As in lots of different socialist states, the DDR was capable of obtain significantly excessive vaccination charges throughout its 4 a long time of existence. A transparent instance of this was the marketing campaign in opposition to the polio virus. In 1961, whereas West Germany was nonetheless registering over 4,600 instances of polio, East Germany had lowered its variety of instances to lower than 5. The DDR made use of an oral vaccine produced within the Soviet Union and subsequently supplied 3 million doses to the FRG, however the latter declined. Whereas East Germany recorded its final polio case in 1962, instances continued to be recorded in West Germany till the top of the Nineteen Eighties.


Picture 9. Vaccinations had been part of the common medical screenings that accompanied kids from start to maturity. Well being care was assured in crèches, kindergartens, colleges, and vacation camps, proper via to apprenticeships and college research. This {photograph} paperwork the administering of a brand new polio oral vaccine within the type of drops.


The variations within the pace and effectiveness with which the 2 German states tackled polio stem from two essentially completely different approaches to immunisation. Within the DDR, as in most different socialist states and a few Western nations, childhood vaccinations had been obligatory because the early Nineteen Fifties, and all kids obtained a collection of ordinary vaccinations set by the Ministry of Well being. These vaccines had been administered to kids immediately in crèches and colleges, whereas adults had been vaccinated within the office. People who didn’t wish to be vaccinated or have their kids vaccinated (which primarily occurred for spiritual causes) may acquire an exemption after consultations with a doctor and regional well being officers. Vaccinations and well being care extra broadly had been thus handled as a social job within the DDR, and a variety of societal actors, whether or not medical doctors, academics, or dad and mom, ensured that every one kids obtained preventive drugs and care.

Within the FRG, in distinction, vaccinations had been really useful however not obligatory, and it was the duty of the households to rearrange appointments with their paediatricians for vaccinations. The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO), an honorary fee of medical specialists, made vaccination suggestions which medical doctors had been then requested and paid to manage, however public vaccination programmes weren’t applied in colleges or on the office. Therefore, for medical doctors within the FRG, the motivation to vaccinate is primarily monetary somewhat than medical.

The main focus of at this time’s political discourse on the legality of obligatory vaccinations underestimates and sometimes fails to recognise the essential sensible query of how the state can fulfil its obligation to organise vaccination for all residents in an environment friendly and protected method. Nonetheless, there stays a query as as to whether or not the fundamental circumstances for a mass vaccination programme have been established in a given society. These embrace:

      • Securing the assets to make sure that all residents will be vaccinated. Extra particularly, this implies producing or buying sufficient doses for all residents, making certain that amenities are protected and accessible, and using sufficient medical personnel to manage the vaccines.
      • Coordinating and monitoring vaccinations in an built-in system. One of many the reason why sure ailments proceed to unfold regardless of vaccination campaigns is that people neglect to rearrange a second or third vaccination essential for full immunisation. It is a critical limitation of voluntary-based immunisation methods through which people should preserve observe of and organize their booster pictures themselves.
      • Sustaining the general public’s belief in vaccinations and within the establishments and actors that present them – that’s, the state, pharmaceutical producers, and medical professionals. As an illustration, are personal firms receiving public funding to develop vaccines that they’ll then patent and revenue from, or is the state researching and creating vaccines that shall be accessible and helpful to all?

Necessary vaccinations within the DDR had been in the end met by a public that was extremely keen to be vaccinated. The usage of coercion to extend vaccination charges – a hotly debated problem at this time – was thus not a problem in East Germany. Related circumstances are evident in Cuba at this time, the place the COVID-19 vaccination price (roughly 90 per cent of the inhabitants) is without doubt one of the highest on this planet, and but no coercive measures have been employed.

Necessary vaccination was understood in socialist East Germany not as a one-sided authorized obligation for the citizen, however because the obligation of the state and its medical establishments. Monitoring and attaining vaccination protection to the best extent potential was a central precedence for well being care professionals, particularly for physicians and authorities on the municipal degree. Alongside the immunisation providers that had been built-in into workplaces, kindergartens, crèches, and colleges, everlasting vaccination centres had been established the place residents may acquire info and schedule appointments for extra voluntary vaccinations, corresponding to in opposition to influenza viruses. To this present day, the willingness to be vaccinated in opposition to influenza stays considerably greater in East Germany than within the West.

Regardless of momentary difficulties within the manufacturing or import of vaccines, the DDR assured common youngster immunisation as much as its dissolution in 1990. Moreover, the variety of diphtheria instances was drastically lowered, the battle in opposition to measles was superior via booster jabs regardless of momentary setbacks, and the introduction of a vaccination in opposition to tuberculosis for all new-borns helped to considerably cut back the variety of instances. The FRG, which had at all times been in a stronger monetary place than the DDR, was additionally capable of eradicate many childhood ailments, however its campaigns usually progressed much more slowly than in East Germany, as is obvious with the poliovirus.



Deutsche Demokratische Republik [German Democratic Republic]. Statistische Jahrbücher der DDR [Statistical Yearbooks of the DDR]. Berlin: Staatsverlag der DDR, 1956–1991; Rahlf, Thomas, ed. Deutschland in Daten [Germany in Data]. Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2015.


The dismantling of the DDR’s well being care system after 1990 was accompanied by a decline within the willingness to be vaccinated and a rising prevalence of ailments that had beforehand been in decline. With the transition to a well being care system oriented across the personal sector, immunisation has as soon as once more grow to be a person duty left to the discretion of sufferers and their normal practitioners somewhat than centrally organised state establishments. Although numerous components contribute to the emergence of epidemics, the reappearance of tuberculosis and measles instances within the East of unified Germany after 1990 is tragic proof of the efficacy of the DDR’s vaccination technique. So too is the significantly low vaccination price in opposition to COVID-19 in Japanese Germany at this time, which is essentially a product of a disaster of confidence within the authorities and the broader well being sector.


9. The DDR’s Worldwide Cooperation and Medical Solidarity


Picture 10. Within the late Nineteen Sixties, after an extended interval of imposed diplomatic isolation, an rising variety of nations (principally from the World South) introduced official relations with the DDR. In 1973, the DDR was admitted to the United Nations and took part constructively in its numerous our bodies and organisations corresponding to UNESCO and the World Well being Organisation.


This {photograph} exhibits the arrival of staff from town carrying a banner that reads ‘Colleagues from the Karl Liebknecht Berlin transformer manufacturing unit are serving to the primary manufacturing cooperative with the harvest!’ The 1945/46, democratic land reform within the Soviet Occupation Zone secured meals provides within the dire post-war interval whereas additionally essentially altering the system of land possession in East Germany. Roughly 560,000 small farms emerged from the redistribution scheme, however they had been usually poorly geared up and equipped. City industrial and craft enterprises stepped in to assist with the harvest within the rising agricultural cooperatives.

On 8 Could 1973, the DDR grew to become a recognised, equal, and lively member of the World Well being Organisation (WHO) alongside 145 different states. The FRG had been a member of the WHO since 1951 and with its declare to be the only real consultant of Germany had hindered the DDR’s worldwide cooperation within the discipline of well being and its entry to worldwide assets. Following its admission in 1973, the DDR grew to become a proactive contributor to the WHO, internet hosting the organisation’s 1981 Regional Assembly for Europe together with quite a few WHO workshops. It was additionally actively concerned within the WHO’s Well being for All by the 12 months 2000 programme, particularly on the idea of main well being care on the 1978 Worldwide Convention in Alma-Ata. DDR specialists had been despatched to the WHO as delegates, whereas overseas college students got here to check within the DDR on WHO scholarships. Moreover, fifteen medical establishments and tasks within the DDR had been licensed as WHO Collaborating Centres, which supported the WHO’s world programmes by conducting analysis, accumulating knowledge, and fostering the alternate of scientific and sensible expertise.

As well as, cooperation between the socialist states was intensive but in addition restricted by variations in every nation’s capabilities. The DDR, for example, equipped many medicines in addition to medical tools to the Soviet Union and its allies, whereas a number of thousand medical doctors from the DDR obtained specialist coaching in these nations.


Picture 11. On this article, copied from an entry in Dr. Rüdiger Feltz’s Nicaragua diary on 15 March 1986, the Nicaraguan press stories on the development of the Carlos Marx Hospital, which began as a triage tent and was quickly expanded into a totally functioning hospital. The hospital’s building in addition to the coaching of its employees and provision of its tools and medicines had been organised by DDR officers and financed by donations from DDR residents. It was one in all East Germany’s largest solidarity tasks.


The DDR’s internationalist solidarity with nations all through the World South included quite a few tasks within the well being sector. There have been contractual agreements with over 40 nations and nationwide liberation organisations, such because the South West African Individuals’s Organisation (SWAPO) and the African Nationwide Congress (ANC). The spectrum of the DDR’s medical internationalism included supplying medicines and tools, deploying medical doctors and nurses abroad, coaching and additional educating worldwide personnel within the DDR, and constructing and working hospitals.

For instance:

      • The DDR-Vietnam Friendship Hospital, at this time the Viet-Duc (German-Vietnamese) Hospital, in Hanoi, Vietnam was equipped with medical supplies by the DDR as early as 1956.
      • The Carlos Marx Hospital was in-built Nicaragua within the Nineteen Eighties and largely operated by DDR medical and technical specialists. By 1989, there have been roughly 90 workers working there, together with 25 medical doctors and 23 mid-level medical employees from the DDR.
      • Over 50 medical doctors and specialists from the DDR constructed and operated the Metema Tropical Hospital in Ethiopia from 1987 to 1988 to deal with drought victims.
      • Angola obtained 27 ambulances via DDR solidarity donations in 1975. In a rehabilitation centre within the capital metropolis of Luanda, DDR medical personnel handled wounded combatants of the Individuals’s Motion for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). The centre additionally operated as a college to coach native nurses and medical doctors.
      • The DDR despatched specialists to Cambodia (the 17 April Hospital), Mozambique (the cities of Chimoio and Tete), Algeria (Frenda, Mahdia, and Oran), the Individuals’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (Aden), and Guinea (the orthopaedic-technical centre in Conakry). DDR paediatricians additionally handled sufferers on the Nationwide Union of Tanganyika Employees’ clinic in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


Picture 12. The DDR’s Dorothea Christiane Erxleben Medical College, named after Germany’s first feminine medical physician, emphasised medical pedagogy. The target was to coach college students in order that they may in flip train trainees of their dwelling nations, thereby selling the event and autonomy of native well being care techniques.


Moreover, medical doctors from nations all through Africa, Asia, and Latin America obtained specialist coaching within the DDR, and about 700 abroad sufferers had been handled within the DDR yearly. Nurses and different mid-level medical professionals additionally obtained coaching within the DDR, most frequently on the Dorothea Christiane Erxleben Medical College, which drew roughly 2,000 college students from greater than 60 states and nationwide liberation actions throughout its 30-year existence. The DDR’s medical internationalism was characterised by each rapid assist and a dedication to supporting the long-term growth of self-sustaining medical providers within the rising nation states.

‘Contract staff from Poland, Mozambique, Mongolia, and different nations had at all times been employed in processing vegetation within the meat trade. As a rule, staff ought to have been examined for health of their dwelling nations earlier than coming to the DDR. However, throughout our recruitment examinations, we regularly detected critical sicknesses of the lungs, liver, kidneys, and many others. However these sufferers had been by no means despatched again. As a substitute, they had been admitted to particular clinics the place they had been handled freed from cost, generally for months. This was sensible solidarity within the DDR. What an enormous distinction [with health care] after “reunification” in 1990, when, for instance, a determined father from Russia approached me together with his youngster affected by a tumour. Medical doctors from the Charité Hospital had been keen to function on him, however the funds couldn’t be secured. Within the media at this time, we regularly hear individuals begging for cash to assist significantly unwell kids from overseas, which at all times makes me unhappy and indignant on the identical time. The “impoverished” DDR by no means needed to beg for such humanistic gestures!’

– Dr. Renate Rzesnitzek, a radiologist within the enterprise polyclinic of the Berlin meat mix


10. Why Is Socialism the Greatest Prophylaxis?

With the incorporation of East Germany into the FRG in 1990, the DDR’s 40-year endeavour to assemble a essentially completely different well being care system was delivered to an finish. The medical infrastructure and employees of the previous DDR had been engulfed by the West German system, which had itself been caught up in a wave of neoliberal commercialisation because the mid-Nineteen Eighties. Company hospital chains emerged all through Germany within the a long time that adopted, and the personal observe mannequin of outpatient care was reimposed on the East. The revenue motive got here to dominate the medical career as soon as once more, as Irene, a former nurse employed in one of many DDR’s polyclinics, recounted: ‘By 1993, physicians had begun to arrange their personal practices. After my chief physician had attended a category on self-employment, she stated to us, “I realized at this time that there are three ideas of self-employment within the new system. First, we should at all times be variety to the sufferers in order that they like to return to us. Second, we should uncover what we will earn from the affected person. How a lot income will they generate for us? And the third precept: We can’t enable them to get wholesome”. That was my expertise of the system change after 1990, and it has been my general feeling within the well being sector ever since’.

The reimposition of commercially oriented medical practices in East Germany has made the distinction between capitalist and socialist well being care all of the clearer. Whereas the market turns ailments into commodities and sufferers into clients, socialist drugs seeks to forestall the illness and sickness to start with, making human well-being its guideline. As in different socialist states corresponding to Cuba, prevention remained the guideline of the DDR’s method to well being care all through its existence. As soon as the revenue motive had been eradicated from each drugs and the economic system, there was no purpose why people and staff must be allowed to get sick.

Within the DDR, political emphasis was positioned on social drugs – that’s, the systematic recognition and combating of the socio-economic determinants of well being and sickness somewhat than an method that merely focuses on how these manifest on the particular person degree. Whereas each social and particular person drugs present essential views for stopping and treating sickness, insurance policies aimed toward bettering the inhabitants’s well being will inevitably be restricted if the final social context and root causes of illness are disregarded.

‘All through my political life… I’ve seen the world via the eyes of a health care provider, for whom poverty, distress, and illness are the primary enemies. That’s how I got here to communism, and that’s how I used to be fortunate sufficient to expertise within the DDR a well being and social system that established a powerful framework, a social and well being system for the entire inhabitants corresponding to I had by no means seen earlier than. […] I’m not uncritical of the previous DDR and don’t glorify its previous. […] However one factor I do know for positive: it could by no means have pushed me away from the concepts of socialism, for I arrived at them through unforgettable experiences beneath capitalism. […] The very best, most humane and scientific drugs in the end stays helpless beneath circumstances of social distress. The state of the world at this time gives essentially the most compelling and horrific proof of this. However the reverse can be true: even the most effective social atmosphere is powerless within the face of illness if it lacks drugs of the best scientific and humanistic order.’

– Ingeborg Rapoport (1912–2017), a professor of paediatrics who held the primary chair within the tutorial discipline of neonatology in Europe, emigrated from Nazi Germany to the US as a medical scholar, and resettled within the DDR in 1952.

Outpatient care, which has been a central focus of this examine, displays most strikingly the excellence between a capitalist and a socialist well being care system. Outpatient amenities and professionals in East Germany had been built-in into all areas of society, from workplaces and colleges to city neighbourhoods and rural villages. The nation’s numerous medical establishments had been linked via an built-in community that promoted cooperation somewhat than competitors. This intensive infrastructure functioned as an early warning system that might establish and counteract dangerous developments wherever and every time they emerged. The sector of occupational well being care was significantly vital on this respect because it allowed the hyperlinks between work and sickness to be scrutinised and addressed. Equally, the mixing of preventive care in childcare and academic establishments turned well being issues right into a social duty that was shouldered not solely by dad and mom but in addition by academics, physicians, and public officers.

What stands out within the East German context are the achievements in well being care coverage regardless of the difficulties going through DDR society. Located on the frontlines of the Chilly Battle, the nation was closely sanctioned and struggled to import trendy medical know-how and tools. On the identical time, working circumstances had been strained by the requirements of reindustrialisation after 1945, which frequently entailed arduous labour and publicity to brown coal air pollution. The DDR’s early years had been additionally marked by a critical labour scarcity within the well being sector as medical professionals had been lured westward. But, regardless of these challenges, the socialist state was capable of make use of its restricted assets to progressively enhance the social scenario and well being of the inhabitants, and, within the course of, the medical career was revolutionised to interrupt down conventional hierarchies. The sector of drugs was opened as much as the working class and peasantry, whereas the transition from personal practices to polyclinics helped to erode the privileges of physicians over nurses and assistants as former employers and workers grew to become colleagues.

These successes had been made potential by two main political developments. First, well being was made right into a societal precedence in East Germany after the Second World Battle. Whereas within the Weimar period well being insurance policies needed to be fought for by commerce unions and conceded by the capitalist class, the DDR was a staff’ and peasants’ state; well being, social, and cultural rights had been enshrined within the nation’s structure, and the enforcement of those rights was overseen by staff themselves. The second issue was the socialisation of property relations in East Germany, which created the framework for an built-in well being care system. The state’s centralised organisation of trade, housing, drugs, and schooling meant that well being aims may very well be mentioned and applied in relation to different social, financial, and political aims. A complete hyperlink was thus established between well being coverage and all areas of society, creating for the primary time a sensible foundation for such discussions (regardless of usually fierce coverage debates) .

In the present day, to justify the privatisation of well being care techniques worldwide, we’re informed that markets guarantee essentially the most environment friendly allocation of assets in society. But, because the COVID-19 virus claims tens of millions of lives and ravages the enfeebled well being sectors of even the richest states, the inefficiency of the market and inhumanity of personal possession are extra evident than ever. The DDR demonstrated that another is feasible – one which locations human well-being at its centre, pushed and managed by working individuals. Even beneath circumstances of extreme financial constraint, socialism has confirmed that preventive care, efficient remedy, and dignified employment will be assured for all. Certainly, embargoed Cuba continues to show this level at this time, not solely offering exemplary well being look after its individuals but in addition serving these in want all over the world. The well being care techniques of the longer term will discover their blueprints within the socialist societies of these states like Cuba and the DDR.



This examine was produced in collaboration with Dr. Heinrich Niemann (b. 1944), who labored as a specialist in social drugs within the DDR and served as district councillor for well being in Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Berlin throughout the Nineteen Nineties. The part on occupational psychology was co-authored with Dr. Klaus Mucha, an occupational psychologist. We additionally obtained vital inputs from interviews with Dr. Herbert Kreibich (b. 1943), a specialist in occupational well being care who led the DDR’s Central Institute of Occupational Medication from 1983 till 1990; Irene (b. 1940), a former nurse within the DDR who labored in a polyclinic in sports activities drugs prophylaxis and in an enterprise outpatient clinic (she has requested for her surname to be withheld for private causes); and Dr. Rüdiger Feltz (b. 1958), a specialist in neurosurgery who was a practising doctor within the DDR and at this time within the Federal Republic of Germany. All of the interviews had been performed between Could and November 2021 in Berlin.




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