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Thursday, 16 November 1939

Mr Drakeford (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) d asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

1.   Has his attention been drawn to the statement of Dr. J. Ringland Anderson, of Melbourne, in discussing blindness in a recent issue of the Medical Journal of Australia, that "Migrants from countries notorious for the prevalence of high myopia are pouring into this country "?

2.   Is it a fact that many migrants from eastern European countries suffering from trachoma, otherwise known as granulated glaucoma, have been attending public hospitals in Melbourne and Sydney over the past ten years?

3.   Will he ascertain the percentage that such sufferers bear to the total number of sufferers from trachoma attending such public hospitals?

4.   Will he direct the attention of the immigration authorities to the advisability of preventing the entry into Australia of sufferers from the infectious eye diseases mentioned by Dr. Anderson, which are notifiable diseases under the health regulations of several States?

Sir Frederick Stewart - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The Director-General of Health has been in communication with Dr. Ringland Anderson concerning this statement.

2.   It is very probable that some migrants from eastern European countries have attended Sydney and Melbourne hospitals for treatment for trachoma, but the exact numbers could not be ascertained without extensive investigation.

3.   See No. 2.

4.   The matter is now under discussion with the Minister administering the Immigration Act.

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