HC Deb 21 October 1953 vol 518 cc1961-2
21. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the infant mortality figures and the average expectation of life figures for the Colony of British Guiana during each of the years since 1945.

Mr. Lyttelton

As the answer contains a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Thomson

In view of the abject poverty of this Colony, should not the Government be concentrating on positive economic action to make stable self-government possible, instead of concentrating as they are on suspending self-government?

Mr. Lyttelton

This is rather a long way from the Question which the hon. Gentleman has on the Order Paper about expectation of life.

Mr. Braine

Is not that supplementary a grave reflection on the work performed under the late Government as well as under this Government in improving health, particularly in the eradication of malaria and endeavouring to raise standards in a country utterly dependent upon sugar, the bulk of the production of which is bought by this country?

Following is the table:

The infant mortality rates for British Guiana for the years 1945 to 1952 was as follows:

1945 101 per thousand live births
1946 87 per thousand live births
1947 87 per thousand live births
1948 78 per thousand live births
1949 77 per thousand live births
1950 86 per thousand live births
1951 77 per thousand live births
1952 82 per thousand live births

In 1946 the expectation of life was calculated at 49 years for males and 52 for females. Since then, there has been a downward trend in death rates and an approximate calculation for 1952 gives an increase of four years in each of the figures.