HC Deb 07 December 1944 vol 406 cc713-4
39. Mr. Thorne

asked the Secretary of State for India how many soldiers in the British Army stationed in India are suffering from dysentery; if he is aware that when suffering from dysentery they have to pay for their own food; and what action he intends taking about this.

Mr. Amery

The rate of admissions to hospital in India for dysentery and kindred illnesses was less than 7½ per cent. in 1943–44, as compared with the pre-war annual rate of 5½ per cent. I am unaware of any ground for the suggestion in the second part of the hon. Member's Question, but if he will give me the details on which it is based I will make inquiry from the Government of India.

Mr. Bellenger

In view of the alarming increase in the incidence of dysentery amongst our troops just disclosed by the Secretary of State, is this one of the matters on which Lord Munster has reported? Shall we have some further information on that next week from the Prime Minister?

Mr. Amery

I think my hon. Friend must await Lord Munster's report, or whatever we may publish of it on the subject. I would only say this, that if the House keeps in mind the difference between peace conditions in India and serving on the Burma frontier, it will not view the increase as so very alarming.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us to what the figure is related? Is it 7½ per cent. of those admitted to hospital, or 7½ per cent. of the troops serving? If it is the latter, is it not a most alarming figure?

Mr. Amery

The figures are 7½ per cent. admissions for the troops serving.