HC Deb 16 July 1941 vol 373 cc588-9
29. Dr. Morgan

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that a visit of inspection paid to the venereal disease clinic in Kingston, Jamaica, has revealed that, amongst the patients found awaiting appropriate treatment, were two young girls, seven years of age; that these children were diseased not by hereditary infection, but by direct contact; how many such cases exist in Jamaica; and what steps have been taken or are being taken to ascertain the perpetrators of such crimes with a view to punishment?

Mr. George Hall

I have no knowledge of the two particular cases mentioned, but, although no definite figures are available, the medical officer in charge of the Kingston Clinic estimates that 25 per cent, of the children attending the clinic with this disease are infected by direct contact. As regards the last part of the Question, the Governor reports that cases are from time to time reported to the police who press the charge, but that such cases are very difficult to establish. In many instances where a child is infected, the parents are very 10th to give information to the police, owing to the fact that they do not desire any publicity, and feel it may reflect on the child's future. As regards cases admitted to the clinic, but not reported directly to the police, no action is taken. It is very difficult to obtain histories, and in many cases, parents or guardians are reluctant to give information. It is considered to be undesirable to press questions, lest the children fail to return for treatment, as has happened on previous occasions.

Dr. Morgan

In view of the undesirable state of things in this Colony with regard to this particular disease, would it not be advisable for the Governor to consider introducing a public health campaign for the education of the public, from the point of view of providing both adequate treatment and necessary facilities for such treatment?

Mr. Hall

From the reply which I gave to a Question last week it will be seen that my Noble Friend is very much concerned about the situation and is taking the matter up with the Governor.

Mrs. Tate

Is it not a fact that it is unnecessary to go so far as Kingston, Jamaica, to find cases such as those mentioned in this Question, and would it not be better to revise the penal code at present prescribed in this country?

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