Infant mortality : a continuing social problem by Eilidh Garrett; et al

By Eilidh Garrett; et al

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However, it is more likely that, as MOHs were primarily attracted to large population centres (Shelton, 2000), their reports failed to provide sufficient focus on infant mortality in rural areas to bring this to national attention. The mapping of infant mortality at registration district level by Woods and Shelton (1997: 47-64) makes it very clear that there were areas in England and Wales that had much higher levels of infant mortality than their population density would predict. Sneddon uses data from the essentially rural and agricultural areas of the Fens in the mid-nineteenth century to show that a ‘fenland penalty’ existed with rural levels of infant mortality that were more comparable with towns such as Leeds, Liverpool or Manchester.

He was responsible for many innovations including the creation of a new medical service, the introduction of medical inspection for school children administered by local education authorities and the establishment of the Medical Research Council. Newman also pursued reforms in medical education which brought about the transfer of clinical training from elite private practitioners to university based academic teachers and he helped secure the creation of the then London School of Tropical Medicine (Newman, 1918, 1923; Bynum, 1995).

Newsholme vigorously supported Newman over the medical inspection of school children; however, they came into conflict when in 1914 Newman proposed that that the Board of Education, rather than the LGB, should become responsible for the welfare of infants from four or six weeks. Newman and Newsholme remained in conflict and when the LGB was transformed into the Ministry of Health, Newsholme was forced to retire. Newsholme never forgave Newman for his role in this episode and in his post-retirement publications, whenever the subject of British public health was discussed, Newman’s name is conspicuous by its absence (Eyler, 1997: 316-337).

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