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

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Walthamstow 1903

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Walthamstow]

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16
lower than that for England and Wales as a whole for 1903, 30.3 lower
than the "76 Great Towns," and 21 3 lower than the "103 Smaller
Towns."
Looking at the preceding table, it will be noticed that a rate of 113.7
compares very favourably with the average rate, 143.6, for the previous
ten years, and that it is to be hoped that under an improved system of
education, when domestic economy and hygiene will take a prominent
place in girls' schools, this low rate of 1137 will be maintained.
That this low rate is largely due to the wet summer we have had, I
have no doubt, but it is equally true that many of the causes tending
to a high Infant Mortality can be removed by the possession of a fuller
and better knowledge by mothers of their duties.
To say that very few young mothers possess the requisite knowledge
regarding infant feeding is but to repeat what is well known to every
medical man, and to get over the rooted prejudices in favour of all
kinds of patent foods for infants and to feed them on good fresh milk
during the first year of life is the first step in preventing the large
wastage of infant life now taking place.
The County Medical Officer of Health takes a great interest in this
matter of Infant Mortality, and I reported last year that I had every
hope that probably one of our large milk vendors would instal plant
for the sterilizing and "humanizing" of cows' milk. Unfortunately
such installation has not taken place, and not likely to, owing to
cost, and while awaiting the time when your authority will do as
Battersea and St Helens, and many small towns on the Continent, we
must meantime rely upon the distribution of leaflets and the efforts
made for a higher standard of personal hygiene among the poor.
The following table shows the Birth and Infantile Mortality rates
according to Wards.

TABLE VII.

Whole Area.St. James Street.High Street.Hoe Street.Wood Street.Northern Ward.
Births3,535747781658453896
Birth-rate33.2531.639.129.2427.4538.1
Deaths1,178285234229189241
Infantile mortality rate113.7131.2115.297.3110.4110.5
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