§ 9. Mr. T. SMITH
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware of the increase of leprosy in India; what steps are being taken to fight the disease; and whether he can give the numbers of lepers in India for the last three years to the most convenient date?
§ Sir S. HOARE
I am circulating a detailed reply. The indications are that leprosy is not increasing in India.
§ Following is the reply:
§ The number of persons classified as lepers in the Indian Census Report for 1931 is 147,911. The corresponding figure in the 1921 Census Report was 102,513. It is probable, however, that on each occasion the real number was cconsiderably in excess of that returned. There is no reason to suppose that leprosy is increasing in India. Many persons suffering from the disease in a mild form who would formerly have not been regarded as lepers are now classified as such. There are no figures on record for any years except the census years.
§ In regard to part two of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the Member for South-East Leeds (Major Milner) on the 23rd November, 1931. Since that date surveys, treatment, research work and propaganda connected with leprosy have been steadily expanding so that many more lepers are 1281 receiving treatment than was then the case. Most of the local governments have now set up organisations for the treatment of the lepers, and, in addition, the Indian Branch of the British Empire Leprosy Relief Association is actively engaged on research work in leprosy in surveying the incidence of the disease and in training doctors in the modern methods of treatment. More detailed information will be found in the Journal, "Leprosy in India." I am sending the hon. Member the July issue of that periodical.