HC Deb 27 October 1955 vol 545 cc359-60
24. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what has been the death rate from tuberculosis in Swaziland during the last three years, respectively and what measures the Government is taking to reduce the disease.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Douglas Dodds-Parker)

The registration of deaths among the non-European population of Swaziland is not compulsory and it is not therefore possible to give accurate figures of the death rate from tuberculosis. Reported deaths from this cause in Swaziland however totalled twenty-five in 1952, nineteen in 1953 and twenty-one in 1954.

Facilities for the isolation and treatment of infectious cases are provided in three hospitals. A tuberculosis block is to be built shortly at Mbabane and further wards are planned. A World Health Organisation consultant who visited the territory in 1954 expressed himself satisfied with the measures taken to control this disease, and arrangements are being made for a further survey to be carried out by a W.H.O. tuberculosis assessment team in 1956.

Mr. Brockway

While thanking the hon. Gentleman for that long answer, may I ask whether it is not a fact that, to receive that free treatment, any tubercular patient has to undergo a means test and to be proved indigenous? Secondly, is it not also the fact that some of the hospitals are not aware of the possibility of this free treatment? Will the hon. Gentleman therefore take steps to try to circulate that information?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

It is true that free hospitalisation can be provided, as it has been in the case which the hon. Member referred to me, if the patient produces a certificate from his district commissioner. It is always difficult to make sure that all concerned know that these facilities are available.