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(EDITORIAL) The casual manner in which Sir Jogendra Singh announced the appointment of a Public Health Commission under the chairmanship of Sir Joseph Bhore, during the debate on cattle slaughter in the Council of State, is in keeping with the tradition of the Government of India. It was about 1857 that a Commission was instituted to inquire into army health conditions, and towards the close of the century there was a Plague Commission, but apart from visits by bodies like the International Malaria Commission there has been little concerted attempt to improve the public health of India. Reports on health problems have never received the attention they deserve in this country, and it is for the Bhore Commission to co-ordinate the work of the Public Health authorities.

…The Public Health Commissioner’s figures for 1920-39 reveal that approximately 4 million people died from cholera, more than half the number dying in the first half of the decade. It is estimated, on the basis of 1925-29 figures, that 500,000 fewer persons died from this disease than in the previous decade. Small-pox, however, shows little or indeed no decline in the number of its victims over the last decade. ...The reduction of infantile mortality from 195 per 1,000 in 1920 has only been to 160 in 1940...

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2018