London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Willesden 1949

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Willesden]

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In spite of the general decline in the infant mortality and still-birth rates, there is still room for considerable
improvement—the differences in the rates are due to environmental and not to hereditary factors. For instance,
in the period 1936-39, for every child under the age of one year that died in the Brondesbury Park Ward, two
children died in the Carlton Ward. If the living conditions and nutrition of the mothers and children in
Carlton had been raised to the same level as Brondesbury Park, 100 babies would have been saved during this
period in Carlton alone, and if the same improvements had operated throughout the borough, the lives of
500 babies would have been saved. Similarly, in the period 1946-49, if the condition of the mothers and
children in the Harlesden Ward had been improved to match those of the best ward, Neasden, 50 babies would
have been saved in Harlesden, and in the whole borough there would have been a gain of more than 300 babies;
a saving of 800 babies in the 8 years under review. The national saving for this period has been estimated at
Public Health Laboratory Service.
The work in connection with the examination of specimens is undertaken by the Public Health
Laboratory Service at the Central Public Health Laboratory, Colindale Avenue, N.W.9, and at their branch
laboratory at the Neasden Hospital, Brentfield Road, N.W.10.
Specimens such as swabs from sore throats, feces from suspected intestinal infections, and cough plates
and post-nasal swabs from suspected whooping cough cases are delivered by private practitioners to the branch
laboratory at the Neasden Hospital or for collection and transfer to the Central Public Health Laboratory,
to the Health Department, 54, Winchester Avenue, N.W.6, or the Willesden Health Centre, 381, High Road,
Willesden, N.W.10.
A presumptive report is telephoned to the practitioner on the morning after receipt of the specimen,
and is followed bv a written report.

Samples of milk taken by the Sanitary Inspectors from dealers in the district are also forwarded to the laboratory for examination. During the year 1949, the following work was carried out at the laboratory:

Throat /Nose Swabs:
Diphtheria Bacilli15
Hemolytic Streptococci293
Vincent's Angina3
T.B. Smear318
Other Organisms1
Pertussi :
Cough Plate-
Post-nasal Swab4

Taken from Dealers' Premises
Taken From
Schools. T.T.
Pasteurised Pasteurised Pasteurised
No. taken 146 39 8
No. satisfactory 135 36 8
No. unsatisfactory in respect of
Methyline Blue test only and second
sample taken 11 3 -
No. of second samples satisfactory 11 3 -