HC Deb 08 November 1944 vol 404 cc1376-7W
Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to what extent tuberculosis has spread in recent years in Nigeria; to what extent there is a lack of medical practitioners and other suitably qualified persons to deal with it; whether it is practicable to furnish those medical practitioners with other means of locomotion than cycles; and what action is being taken adequately to deal with tuberculosis, pneumonia and venereal disease now and after the war.

Colonel Stanley

Detailed statistics of the incidence of tuberculosis in Nigeria as a whole are not available, but it is recognised that the position gives cause for concern. Facilities for the treatment of tuberculosis, and, indeed, medical facilities as a whole, obviously need to be widely extended, but the expansion of the activities of the Medical Department has inevitably been limited during the war by the staff shortage, which has been accentuated by releases for military service, by invalidings and by recruitment difficulties. Government Medical Officers provide their own transport but are eligible for assistance in the form of an advance of salary towards the purchase of motor vehicles. Maintenance and mileage allowances are paid. I am not aware of any difficulties. As an essential preliminary towards preparing a comprehensive tuberculosis prevention scheme the Nigerian Government has made provision for the establishment of a Tuberculosis Investigation and Survey Unit under the charge of a Tuberculosis Officer. The Unit will include a mobile mass radiography section. The survey will start as soon as staff and equipment can be obtained and, when it has been completed, it will be possible to prepare for the needs of the country as a whole. Steps are also being taken to appoint a Venereologist to take charge of a campaign against venereal disease. Venereal disease clinics will be opened in Lagos and elsewhere as soon as facilities are available. Meanwhile, treatment for tuberculosis, venereal disease and pneumonia is available to the public at existing hospitals and clinics, and the hon. Member may rest assured that the expansion of general medical facilities will form an important part of the post-war development programme.