HC Deb 23 February 1899 vol 67 cc273-4

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the mortality among the Indian coolies employed on the Uganda Railway; and what arrangements are made for their protection, both at the port of emigration and in Africa?


The answer given by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the honourable Member for Chesterfield will have supplied the information sought by this question. I will only add: (1) The mortality among coolies employed on the Uganda Railway Works during 1898 appears to have been about 16 per 1,000 per annum on an average labour force of 12.800 hands; (2) at the port of emigration the labourers are kept, as far as possible, apart from all infection; they are medically inspected before they go on board, where their food, clothing, sanitation, and medical attendance are provided for. There are hospitals at the base and at different points on the works. Medical men and medical subordinates. European and Indian, are provided for the service of these hospitals and of the labourers. At the most un- healthy season of the year nearly 10 per cent, of the labourers were in hospital; at healthier seasons from 2½ to 5 per cent, may be in the hospital. The medical report of July last says: "The prevailing diseases are malarial fever, diarrhœa, dysentery, liver complaint, scurvy, and ulcers. A complication of the last two generally necessitates invaliding." Those who are invalided are sent back to India.