HC Deb 23 November 1938 vol 341 cc1746-7
36. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he proposes to take immediate steps to deal with the under-nourishment and disease referred to in the report of Major Orde Brown on Northern Rhodesia?

Mr. M. MacDonald

Yes, Sir. The conditions to which Major Orde Brown directed attention, together with the proposals for the extension of the Northern Rhodesia health services put forward by Sir Alan Pim and Mr. Milligan in their recent report, are receiving active consideration. A disease survey of the territory is being undertaken, and campaigns against syphilis, yaws and skin affections are being initiated. Additional provision for health services will be made in the 1939 Estimates; and I can assure the hon. Member that, in considering questions of health, the Government are fully alive to the importance of securing an adequate standard of nourishment.

Mr. Mathers

Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that proper dealing with this matter would mean that all these people would be more likely to remain thirled to the British Empire?

Mr. MacDonald

I am not aware that there is any desire among the people of Northern Rhodesia to be anywhere but inside the British Empire.

Mr. Paling

Have there not been a great many of these reports, all of the same character, within the last nine or o years, and have we not always been promised that the matter shall receive active consideration? Has anything really substantial yet been done?

Mr. MacDonald

Practical steps have already been taken, and in the Budget for 1939 money will be provided for additional practical action.

Mr. Paling

In view of the enormous size of the problem, are the steps as big as may be required to deal efficiently with the situation?

Mr. MacDonald

That may be a matter of opinion, but we are doing everything possible within our financial resources.

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