HC Deb 30 June 1960 vol 625 cc1551-2
35. Mr. Dugdale

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of his responsibility for the care and protection of minors, he will state the death rate for children under 5 in Ndola, Northern Rhodesia; and how many of them died of malnutrition.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I am consulting the Governor of Northern Rhodesia and will write to the right hon. Member when I have his reply.

Mr. Dugdale

Is the Minister aware that, according to the Central African Examiner, 60 per cent. of all Africans who died in Ndola last year were children under 5 and that half of these died from malnutrition? Is it not right that the Colonial Secretary should personally inquire into what is a very serious state of affairs?

Mr. Macleod

I have not seen that article. I shall, of course, send for it and look at it. The figures the right hon. Gentleman gives certainly seem to point to a very serious state of affairs. As soon as I have the Governor's reply, I will consider it in the light of what the right hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

If the right hon. Gentleman finds that these figures are true, will he promise the House that he will take very urgent action to improve these conditions?

Mr. Macleod

It is rather a mixed responsibility because the question of malnutrition, both as a disease and a subject, is a federal rather than a territorial matter. I will pursue with the appropriate people the right action as soon as I have seen the report.