§ 4. Mr. Peter Smithers
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has studied the report of the Trinidad Commissioner for Labour, 1947–48, which draws attention to the serious effects of hookworm and which reveals that 90 per cent. of the inhabitants of sugar cane areas in the Colony suffer from this disease; and what action he is taking to improve this situation.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Cook)
Yes, Sir. Official surveys in those areas of Trinidad where sugar cane is principally grown did not confirm the figure of 90 per cent.; the incidence of the disease as thus ascertained varied between 75 per cent. and 30 per cent. The Trinidad Government established hookworm control units in three counties which include the sugar cane areas, in 1947, and in the two following years 21,711 and 21,668 persons were treated for hookworm. Propaganda against the disease includes the publication of pamphlets dealing with it and health talks to schools and communities. Clinic facilities for its treatment have been increased on some estates, and on the larger ones both housing facilities and latrine sanitation are continually being improved.
§ Mr. Smithers
In view of the debilitating nature of this disease and the alarming figures which the hon. Gentleman's reply discloses, will he give an undertaking that this matter will enjoy the highest priority as an objective for the Government?