HC Deb 31 January 1930 vol 234 cc1372-3W
Major POLE

asked the Secretary of State for India the number of known cases of leprosy in India and how many of these are segregated either in their homes or in institutions; whether the Government take any steps to effect their compulsory segregation either in their homes or in institutions; and if he will state the number of leper institutions in India and the total amount contributed out of Indian revenues towards the extinction of this disease?


The number of persons in India returned as lepers at the Census of 1921, the last official figure available, was 102,513, but it is probable that the number is considerably in excess of that returned. There are about 40 institutions with about 8,000 inmates. The Indian Lepers Act provides that the compulsory segregation of pauper lepers may be enforced in areas to which the Act is made applicable by the Provincial Governments, but the total number of compulsorily segregated lepers is at present inconsiderable. The number of lepers segregated in their homes and the total amount contributed from Indian revenues cannot be stated.

The following note has been supplied by Sir Leonard Rogers: Any attempt at general compulsory segregation is impossible on account of the prohibitive cost, and now that the improved treatment enables most early, but few advanced, cases to be cleared up, compulsion does more harm than good by causing the early, largely uninfective, cases to be hidden until they have become advanced, infectious and incurable. At the present time about 100 doctors are being trained in the modern treatment at the Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine, and thousands of lepers are now being treated by them all over India at clinics with far greater effect in reducing leprosy than attempts at segregation, which have invariably proved very expensive failures in all tropical countries where they have been tried.

Forward to