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

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Walthamstow 1904

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Walthamstow]

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cowkeeping at the Farm, and your Manager showed how that could be
effected at no expense to the ratepayer, but on the contrary a good
profit could be made even when selling the milk at wholesale prices.
To-day the circumstances are even more favourable and the potentialities
for doing good are much greater. By thus producing good milk
cheaply and treating it by the Just-Hatmaker process and selling it at
cost price to all mothers feeding babies otherwise than by the breast, I
feel sure would reduce the infant death-rate in a way that no other
agency can.
The dried milk so produced could be reconstituted into ordinary
milk by the addition of warm water and used immediately, before
bacterial decomposition or other pollution had time to set in.
The results of feeding by this dry milk have been so satisfactory in
New York that of 850 children so fed not one child died, at a time
when the death-rate of similar children fed on ordinary milk was 40 in
100, and even with Pasteurised and sterilized milk the death-rate was
20 in 100.
In establishing cows at the Farm and the subsequent treating of
their milk for the purpose indicated, a public health measure will be
adopted of great benefit to the general community and no expense to
the ratepayer, and in doing so you need have no fear that milk sellers
would complain of undue competition and the taking away of part of
their business. Assuming such complaints to arise they need no consideration,
for in a short time milk sellers would recognise, as doctors
now do, that the community does not exist for their benefit, and in this
respect "Salus populi suprema lex" must be your guiding principle.
The following Table shows the death-rate in the various wards from
this disease :—


St. James Street.High Street.Hoe Street.Wood Street.Northern Ward.
Number of Births787756625467988
Number of Deaths4729182366
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The death-rate from Diarrhoea in the whole district was 1.64 per 1,000.
The similar rate for England and Wales was .86 and for the "76
Great Towns" 1.2.

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