Friday, July 14, 2006

100 Years Ago

Editorial in The Statesman:

The Report of the Sanitary Commissioner on the health of Bengal during 1905 is not a record on which medical science can reflect with much satisfaction. In the improvement of the conditions of life in India slow progress appears to be achieved for a period of years; but, just as we are beginning to congratulate ourselves upon an advance which, though very gradual, is sure, we are suddenly thrust back to the death-rate of twenty years ago. We doubt some allowance must be made for the peculiar weather of 1905. The winter was cold and wet. The heat of June surpassed the recollection of the oldest inhabitant, and the subsequent monsoon was disappointing. But it is a fair inference that, when the death-rate depends so largely on weather conditions, sanitation has scarcely begun to take its proper share in promoting health of the population. This view is confirmed by a survey of the chief causes of the increase in mortality returns. Preventable diseases play an important part in producing this melancholy result. We are told, for example, that the mortality from cholera was the highest recorded since 1901. It can scarcely be disputed that for the practical extinction of this scourge the spread of sanitation would suffice. The large towns of England were periodically attacked by epidemics of cholera until an efficient system of drainage was introduced, about sixty years ago, but since that time the disease has become almost unknown. We are therefore entitled to ask whether in Bengal sanitary measures are being pushed forward with the energy and public spirit which the occasion demands.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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