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

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Stepney 1938

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Stepney]

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Little change took place in the administration of the Maternity and
Child Welfare section during the year.
The premises at the Congregational Buildings, Burdett Road, whereat
the Borough Council's Infant Welfare Centre for that district was held on
Wednesdays, had long been considered unsuitable in lay-out and gloomy in
aspect with the result that on 24th June this centre was transferred to 17,
Rhondda Grove (late Cottage Grove) where it is now held on Tuesdays. The
latter premises are rented by the Council and already house the Council's
Mile End Infant Welfare Centre which is held there on Thursdays. Two
centres for two districts are therefore being held there on separate days until
such time as some better arrangements can be made.
The voluntary Infant Welfare Centre known as Stepney Infant Welfare
Centre and Babies' Nursing Home of 587, Commercial Road, E.l, was unfortunately
obliged to close up these premises during the year owing to the building
being declared structurally unsafe by the District Surveyor. The Babies' Nursing
Home has been permanently closed and the Infant Welfare Centre is carrying
on temporarily at St. Matthew's Hall, White Horse Road, E.l.
The voluntary Infant Welfare Centre known as East Stepney Jewish
Centre changed from their temporary premises at Redmans Road to the new
Jewish Girls' Club at 2, Beaumont Grove—a very fine new building.
A domiciliary service of midwives established under the Midwives Act,
1936, came into operation during the year. In London this service is administered
by the London County Council. A useful feature of the scheme is the
Emergency Obstetrical Service, by which the doctor (or midwife if necessary)
in attendance on the mother in her home, can, in case of serious emergency
call out from the local London County Council Hospital, an ambulance with
obstetrical consultant, trained midwife and equipment for blood transfusions
or other necessary operation, in those cases where it is not possible to immediately
move an emergency case into hospital.
One of the Council's Health Visitors, Miss Carty, attended the annual
revision course for Health Visitors at the Winter School for Health Visitors
held at Bedford College for Women, Regents Park, under the auspices of the
Women's Public Health Officers' Association in December.
During the year a knitting competition was held for the mothers attending
the Infant Welfare Centres and was well supported by the mothers who take
much interest in this work at the centres.
The toddler clinic shows increased attendances and the figures relating
to this clinic will be found on page 31. The clinic serves a useful purpose
for those children who the Health Visitors consider require special attention.
Infantile Mortality.—The deaths of infants during the year were slightly
less than last year. In 1937 there were 167 deaths of infants under 1 year
of age, giving an infantile mortality rate of 60.5 per 1,000 live births. This
year 163 died and the infantile mortality rate is 62.2.
Were it not for the measles epidemic which caused seven infantile deaths
the infantile death rate would have been lower than last year, which was the
Jowest on record in the Borough.