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Rhondda's High Death-Rate

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Rhondda's High Death-Rate Some Suggestions. To the Editor of the Rhondda Leader." Sir,—Tiie annual report of the Medical Officer of Health has recently been pub- lished, and considering the power which the Council can use for the prevention of destitution and bettering our environ- ments, the report is very, appalling and falls very short of being satisfactory. The duties that fall within the scope of our local Health Committee seem to have been evaded in the report, and are allowed to pass by without comment. What is the Committee doing in regard to our drainage, the suppression of nuisances, and the inadequate method of scavenging? The drainage system (as at present installed) can only be imperfectly inspected, and is proving a rapid breeding ground for the very germs that account for the heavy death-rate. Ever-increasing nuisances are daily committed and allowed to remain on our streets, and an examina- tion of the refuse collected convinces us that we are daily forced into contact with the birthplace and growth of disease. Such conditions seem to have been over- looked or neglected by our Health Autho- rity, and in view of this, I ask the public's attention to these important and serious matters. The conclusion we arrive at, therefore, is the need of a more thorough and strict inspection of all our surroundings, and the enforcing of the people to maintain clean habits, both inside and outside of their residences, and to prosecute those parents and children that convert our streets and by-roads into refuse and sewerage grounds. So long as these con- ditions prevail, so long will our death- rate maintain at its present high stan- dard. The question "of how we are to prevent so large an infantile mortality, in parti- cular, must arrest our special thoughts; and if we can receive any assistance from other centres, then let us be so guided. Says Sir John Simon :—" A high mortality almost necessarily connotes a prevalence of those causes and conditions which in the long run determine a degeneration of the race." It is stated that the great factors resulting in this large mortality are ignorance, carelessness, and neglect of hygienic laws; therefore, it becomes a necessity that people should receive in- struction in these matters. Statistics prove that the practice of feeding infants with artificial food is chiefly responsible for the terrible wastage of life that is going on, and this opinion has long been endorsed by local practitioners. It is gratifying, however, to learn that a system which is now iiitroduced-tlie appointment of Health Visitors-has already proved beneficial in other well- known centres; still, a further recom- mendation would, I believe, prove highly successful, namely, the equipping and training of voluntary health visitors, who would give every attention to infants up to school age. In conclusion, I should like to make the following Tecommendations:- (1) The adoption of a more scientific method of dealing with refuse, such as destructors, and a more strict inspection of our streets and bv-roads. (2) To instal public baths in all towns, and stop the further use of our rivers for bathing purposes; and further, stop the pollution of the rivers. (3) The acquisition, in all places of a certain population, of good recreation grounds, both for children and adults, inclusive of apparatus for physical exer- cises, under proper supervision. (4) A better method of foods inspec- tion, by giving to our local police officers, whq are more acquainted with local affairs than the casual inspector. (5) A public assistance office, where the public may be able to enter a record of neglect, or where attention is required, &c. A. DAVIES.

The Rev. James Davies, Salem…

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