Newfoundland; Economic, Diplomatic, and Strategic Studies

By R. A. MacKay | Go to book overview

IX
PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

HEALTH and welfare conditions in Newfoundland are bad. Tuberculosis presents a serious problem, the infant mortality rate is high, and the threat of epidemics of typhoid, smallpox and diphtheria is always present. As a consequence of adverse economic conditions that have persisted down the years, a large percentage of the people are ill-housed, ill-clothed and ill-fed. Similar statements could be made of other countries and possibly of parts of all countries; but, in comparison with other Anglo-Saxon countries, Newfoundland makes a poor showing.

The death rate from tuberculosis in 1938 was 198.4 for every 100,000 of the population.1 Of the thirty-two years from 1907 to 1938, eight years showed a rate of over 300; six years, a rate between 250 and 300; eleven years, a rate between 200 and 250; and only seven years, a rate of 200 or less. The lowest rate on record--that for the year 1933--is 184.2. A comparison of this lowest rate with the rate in Canada for 1938 shows it to be more than twice as high as the highest rate for any province, more than three times as high as the average for the Dominion, and more than six times as high as the lowest rate for any province. It far exceeds even the very high death rates that prevail in Eire. It is maintained that the morbidity rate for tuberculosis is relatively higher than the death rate, owing to a high degree of resistance developed by Newfoundlanders through years of exposure to the disease.

The infant mortality rate in 1938, the most favourable year on record, was 92.8 for every 1,000 live births. In

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1
Newfoundland statistics from Annual Report of the Registrar-General of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1938. For Canadian rates see Canada Year Book.

-170-

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