§ MR. SLOAN (Belfast, S.)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the High Commissioner of Southern Nigeria acted on his own initiative in inviting at the beginning of the present year a sisterhood of French nuns to Calabar to take charge of the Native 591 Government Hospital, where the inmates are non-Catholic; if he can say for what period have these nuns been engaged; whether it is intended to retain the services of these nuns in preference to nurses who are not connected with religious orders.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Lyttelton.) The proposal that two Roman Catholic sisters should be employed as nurses in the native hospital at Calabar (which is a separate institution from the European hospital) was originally made to the Protectorate Government by the head of the Roman Catholic Mission at Calabar in September, 1903. There had previously been no women nurses at the native hospital, and, as the proposal received the support of the principal medical officer and of the Acting High Commissioner, it was accepted on terms, which were referred to and approved by me. It was stated in the terms of agreement that no undertaking could be given that the sisters would be employed for any stated period, but if the system is found to work well, I see no reason, on the information before me, why it should be changed.