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Wednesday, 19 April 1961

Mr CAIRNS (YARRA, VICTORIA) - I ask the Minister for Territories whether he is aware of a statement made by Dr. Peters in the "Australian Medical Journal ", on 22nd October, 1960, as follows: -

In the Maprik area, it has been shown that up to 60 per cent, of babies die before attaining the age of about 18 months.

Also, is the Minister aware that on the medical evidence the figure for Papua and New Guinea, as a whole, is about 30 per cent.? What is the attitude of his Administration to this problem? Does it believe that malaria is one of the main causes of this astonishingly high rate of infant mortality? If so, what is being done to eradicate malaria in this area? If the Administration cannot fix an early target date for the eradication of malaria, will it refer the matter to the World Health Organization?

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