Infirmary Rau

The military infirmary 3rd class at Raoe (Rau, Westcoast Sumatra) is mentioned in the publication of D. Schoute “De Geneeskunde in Nederlandsch-Indie in de 19e eeuw”, GTNI 75 (1935) 10, 827. The article refers to a survey of  all the military facilities in 1867 . In that year the infirmary at Rau had on average 5 patients. The infirmary was part of the Military Medical Service (MGD),  which in 1867 (the year of the survey of all military facilities) managed a total of 79 facilities (3 large military hospitals, 35 garrison hospitals and 41 infirmaries) with on average 4,244 occupied beds.

Some 25 years later, the Annex D of the Koloniaal Verslag 1890 reports a total  of 3,358 inpatients by the end of that year, whereas 52,631 patients have been admitted for the whole of the Netherlands Indies. The report concerns 28 military hospitals, 54 ziekenzalen (infirmaries) and 6 specialized facilities.  About the Rau infirmary is reported that it has been closed in May 1890 and has been replaced to Loeboe Sikaping (Annex D, note O, page 7).

Rau was a town on the Westcoast of Sumatra. A traveller in the 19th century (Marius Buys,”Twee jaren op Sumatra’s Westkust”, De Gids 50 (1886) 284-285) tells: In the valley, Loeboe-Sikaping is situated, well-known by the Padri-war. His story reveals why the infirmary at Rau was closed (somewhere between 1886 and 1890). M.Buys continues: ‘Here a new military post is being developed, not because of the rebellious nature of the population,but owing to the fact that the existing military post at Rau is too unhealthy. Besides,the military authorities think it necessary to have an intermediary military post in between Fort de Kock and Padang Sidempuan (a distance of more than 300 km). From Loeboe Sikaping the road passes through the forest of Panti towards Rau. The forest is notorious because of the tigers who manifest themselves at night. It is a wild region with abundant tropical vegetation. Miasms develop without limitation and it is very unhealthy for men. The forest of Panti is majestic, but not in the least lovely. At Rau the living is not agreeable. South of the town (near to Loender) vast marshes stretch out, which cause a lot of malaria fevers. Before arriving, at the right side of the large road, one distinguishes the ruins of the fort Amerongen, once the theatre of the heroic actions of Poland (1833). The fort has been defended for 40 days and had to be left because of lack of livestock and hunger. Past Rau the terrain is still less friendly looking than before. The soil is mostly infertile and is covered with alang-alang along large stretches. The mountains carry no longer woods and are much more monotonous. We approach the Batak-lands, belonging tothe Residency of Tapanuli.’