Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The figures we have been able to obtain for infantile mortality indicate only too clearly the necessity for a wide expansion of child welfare and maternity relief organisations.
The need for trained health visitors is no less great. In more than one centre in India we have seen the attempts being made by voluntary organisations, such as the Red Cross Society in Calcutta, to provide training for health visitors, and these pioneer efforts have demonstrated the possibility of obtaining suitable women for work of this kind. It may not always be necessary for Governments to open their own training schools, although this has been done in two provinces, but we think that. the time has come when the training should be standardised by instituting a Government diploma which should be the recognised qualification required of all women aspiring to such posts.
In a number of municipal areas and in certain industrial concerns a beginning has been made in the development of child welfare work, and instances came to our notice which enable us to appreciate the results to be achieved by women working almost single-handed. We have also seen excellent work in progress in centres organised by the more progressive employers, those of the Cawnpore Woollen Mills, the Empress Mills in Nagpur and a few of the jute mills deserving of special mention. But these efforts are unfortunately isolated and few in number and, more often than not, they have failed to develop along proper lines because neither trained health visitors nor medical supervision by a woman doctor were available. Both are essential if welfare work of this nature is to succeed. For the larger cotton and jute industrial areas we commend the suggestion made to us that a group of mills or factories should combine to form a scheme in which each mill has its own welfare centre and health visitor, medical supervision and control being carried out by a woman doctor paid for by the group. Where single units are of great size, as in the jute industry, the management may prefer to have the full-time services of a woman doctor. This has been done by the Angus Jute Mill Company with great advantage in connection with both medical and welfare work. We have already recommended the appointment of a woman Assistant Director of Public Health in certain provinces for the organisation, co-ordination and supervision of all forms of welfare work among women and children undertaken by public authority. Her advice should also be at the disposal of employers desiring to initiate and develop welfare schemes for their women employees. We suggest that, as in the case of medical facilities, it should be possible, at least in the larger industrial areas, for Government, local authorities and industrial managements to co-operate in the development of child welfare centres and women's clinics. In some cases the employers might prefer to carry out their own schemes, but in each area the co-operation we have suggested should make it possible for municipal councils in developing their own welfare schemes, to take cognisance of employers' efforts and so plan their organisations as gradually to meet the needs of the whole community. For approved schemes, financial aid in the form of percentage grants should be given by Government. Acceptance of grants would imply inspection and supervision and the maintenance of a reasonable standard of efficiency, while the financial help would supply the impetus to progressive advance which is at present so generally lacking.